Kenya - BAT declines to support charities - tobacco control laws..

March 2, 2009 - British American Tobacco (BAT) Kenya has declined to support charity organizations because of stringent tobacco control laws that have not only banned smoking in public places, but has also prohibited cigarette companies from advertising their products and sponsoring social or charity events. Kenyan Parliament in August 2007 passed the National Tobacco Control Act and then signed into law by President Kibaki in September 2007. The law took effect within 8-months (came into force on 8th July 2008) after signing and bans tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, increases cigarette taxes and takes other strong steps to reduce tobacco use.

The Tobacco Act banned smoking in public places which included 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.

Kenya an East African nation with 34 million people. More than one-quarter of the population smokes, including 13 percent of school-age children. An estimated 12,000 Kenyans die prematurely each year from diseases related to tobacco use and exposure. (Kenyan Parliament Passes Strong Anti-Tobacco Legislation, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids International Resource Center)

BAT has historically enjoyed a monopoly position in Kenya. The Kenyan arm of the transnational BAT rules the roost with close to 60 percent of market share, followed by StanCom Company (25 percent) and Mastermind Tobacco Kenya. BAT Kenya, Ltd. engages in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes in Kenya. It offers its products primarily under various brands, such as Dunhill, Benson & Hedges, Pall Mall, Embassy, Sportsman, Sweet Menthol, Crown Bird, Safari, Score, Rooster, and Crescent & Star. ( British-American Tobacco Kenya, AfDevinfo - Organization Record 12/2007)

Related news briefs: Kenya - discrepancies between local smoke-free regulations and Tobacco Control Act..; Smoking ban starts in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya..; British American Tobacco (BAT) - 100 years in Africa...

Reference: Anti-smoking laws blocking firms from charity by Jim Onyango, Business Daily Africa, 3/2/2009.