• May 27, 2024
  • Last Update May 27, 2024 12:19 PM
  • Nairobi

Health experts want ministry to amend proposed graphic images on tobacco products

Health experts want ministry to amend proposed graphic images on tobacco products


Tuesday May 7, 2024

KNA by Chari Suche

Public health experts want the ministry of health to consider coming up with harm reduction alternatives when developing proposed graphic health warnings for tobacco products.

The industry stakeholders have also urged the ministry to consider factual, descent and science-based regulation in the formation of the new graphic health warnings on these products.

While acknowledging the importance of the new graphic health warnings, Dr. Vivian Manyeki a public health expert said the introduction of harm reduction alternatives to the tobacco products will give room for the current science that is teaching about harm reduction products that serve as an alternative to cigarettes.

Manyeki who is also a health harm reduction advocate said the sizing of the graphic warnings will cover the whole packet and there will be no space to tell consumers about the content and important details of the product.

Tobacco industry players have also asked the ministry to come up with a differentiation of products categories when developing proposed graphic warnings.

National chairman Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurant association of Kenya (PERAK) Michael Kiragu said that the ministry is generalizing all the products thus asking them to differentiate.

Kiragu said they have agreed as industry experts on the issue cigarettes cause to the human health, adding that different nicotine products have been classified as harm reduction products to consumers.

“Putting same graphics health warnings on everything including the harm reduction supplements like ‘velo’ is inappropriate because when people are using them they are not smoking,” he added.

He urged the ministry to be realistic of what they are doing saying a lot of warning labels are quiet disturbing and not suitable for the Kenyan market.

According to the Ministry of health, graphic health warnings were entrenched in the Tobacco Control Act 2007, to increase knowledge and risks associated with tobacco use and deter initiation to tobacco.

However, tobacco players, health experts and harm reduction campaigners have questioned the ministry’s decision saying they should be differentiated from traditional tobacco products.

The Ministry of Health through the Tobacco Control Board has embarked on a country wide public participation exercise on the Draft Graphic Health Warnings for Tobacco Products.

Speaking in Mombasa, Tobacco Control Board Chairperson Naomi Shaban said that the ministry aims to create public awareness and knowledge about the harmful effects of tobacco consumption and to possibly persuade tobacco users to quit smoking.

“The main objective of the new graphics health warnings is to increase knowledge and public awareness about risks associated with tobacco use, deter initiation to tobacco, reduce tobacco consumption and persuade tobacco users to quit among others,” she said.

Shaban added that the warnings have been met with mixed reactions from the public with many urging the ministry of health to get back to the drawing board and redesign the graphics terming them as disturbing in nature.

She said with the rising population which equals to increase in the use of various new tobacco products in the country, the consumption of the drug remains a major threat to the public health.

The newly formed graphic health warnings will be displayed on tobacco products and are aimed at increasing awareness of the risks associated with tobacco use.

Courtesy; KNA

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