Kenya - discrepancies between local smoke-free regulations and Tobacco Control Act..

October 27, 2008 - The Kenyean Tobacco Control Act 2007, which came into force on 8th July 2008, regulates public smoking and the marketing and sale of tobacco products in Kenya. Since last year, several local councils including Nairobi and Mombasa have drafted by-laws that bars smoking in public places. Driven by a similar urge to curb smoking, the Government in its part made into law the Tobacco Control Act 2007. This parallel sets of legislation however pose an instant problem with local authorities sticking to the provisions of their by-laws to push for the campaign while other law enforcement agencies turned to the Act for guidance.

An example of an inconsistency: According to the Local Government Act, a public place may include any road, street, thoroughfare, foot - path, pavement, side-walk, lane, square, open space garden, park or enclosed space vested in a local authority. The Tobacco Act on the other hand defines a public place as any indoor, enclosed area which is open to the public or any part of the public, or to which members of the public ordinarily have access, and includes a work place and public conveyance. Hotels, restaurants, bars, schools, hospitals, court buildings, ferries, trains and any other form of public transport are covered under this Act.

Some key provisions of the 2007 Tobacco Control Act:
1. In public places, smoking is allowed only in designated smoking areas
2. Advertising of tobacco products is prohibited in Kenya
3. Retailers are allowed to sell cigarettes only in packets of 10 (ten) and 20 (twenty) cigarettes
4. Cigarettes may not be sold to persons under the age of 18 years
5. On 8th January 2009, the packaging of cigarettes sold in Kenya will change to incorporate larger Health Warnings and other specific markings

References: Kenya: State law or local law to control smoking?, Allan Odhiambo, Business Daily Africa, 10/27/2008.

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Kenya has ratified the
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Treaty.