High Taxes on Tobacco-Free Pouches Will Make Kenya a Tobacco-Only Country

By Mourice Sereta

DRACONIAN government taxes on safer alternative nicotine products are condemning 2.8 million Kenyans to smoke toxic tobacco for the rest of their lives, the Campaign for Safer Alternatives (CASA) warns today.

As the world celebrates World No Tobacco Day, CASA Chairman Joseph Magero expressed his dismay at the misguided decision by Government to make LESS HARMFUL products TWICE the price of traditional cigarettes in the forthcoming budget.

“Prohibitive taxes on nicotine pouches and e-cigarettes are putting these safer options out of reach for millions of smokers who are desperate to quit,” explained Magero.

“It’s an illogical pro-cigarette policy that puts us out of step with the rest of the world and means Kenya should actually be commemorating Only-Tobacco Day.”

International research shows that alternative nicotine products are 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes, which release dangerous toxicants through the burning of tobacco. Organisations such as Public Health England advocate that smokers switch to alternative, reduced-risk nicotine products to give up cigarettes. But new taxes in Kenya’s upcoming Budget will make tobacco-free nicotine pouches double the price of cigarettes.

“This nonsensical decision means nicotine pouches, which are approximately 95% less harmful, will be 100% more expensive than the harmful products. It’s backward in every sense,” says Magero.

“Already this year some 12,000 lives will have been lost to smoking-related disease in this country. One in three smokers wants to quit, but only 7% of those who try actually succeed.” “They’re desperate to get the best chance of quitting. Instead they won’t be able to afford it.

“The prohibitive taxes on nicotine pouches and e-cigarettes in the budget will wipe out all competition to cigarettes and are simply a bonus for tobacco manufacturers. “If we’re serious about saving lives on No-Tobacco Day, all Kenyans should be saying No to these deadly dangerous taxes.”

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