Smoking decreases by 10 per cent, Ministry of Health report indicates

Tuesday, February 13th, 2024 04:00 | By
Person smoking. Photo/Internet

Smoking prevalence in Kenya has decreased by 10 per cent in seven years, new data at the Ministry of Health shows.

Public Health and Professional Standards Principal Secretary, Mary Muthoni attributed this decline to a number of measures the country has undertaken since it signed and ratified the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) in 2004.

She noted in a statement that the data implies that Kenya’s efforts are yielding significant results. Data generated by the PS’ office shows that smoking prevalence had gone down from 22.6 per cent in 2015 to 11.6 per cent in 2022.

“Kenya continues to set the pace in global tobacco control, showcasing its unwavering commitment to public health and the well-being of its citizens,” Muthoni said, noting that since Kenya signed and ratified the FCTC in 2004, the country had demonstrated proactive dedication to enforcing the treaty’s provisions.

Through legislative measures such as the Tobacco Control Act of 2007 and the Tobacco Control Regulations of 2014, the PS noted that Kenya had implemented robust tobacco control measures.

“These regulations encompass crucial aspects such as tobacco product packaging, the creation of smoke-free environments, and the prevention of tobacco industry interference,” she said.

Opening session

The achievements in tobacco control, Muthoni noted are noteworthy, and include; implementation of graphic health warnings and comprehensive tobacco control regulations, reduction of illicit trade in tobacco products through the establishment of an effective track and trace system, among others.

More of those achievements according to the PS include a successful transition of tobacco farmers to alternatives such as planting sustainable crops under the Tobacco Free Farms initiative launched in March 2022 in Migori County.

It’s a joint initiative of the WHO, the World Food Programme (WFP); the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with the Kenyan government.

The PS said that Kenya has not only excelled domestically in tobacco control, but also leads regionally and globally in FCTC implementation, and has been recognised for its high level of achievement in enforcing bans on tobacco advertising.

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