Tobacco Board Announces Nationwide Crackdown on Illicit Nicotine Products

March 1, 2024

The Tobacco Control Board has been directed to initiate a crackdown against illegal nicotine products and other authorized medicines in the country.

Public Health Principal Secretary Mary Muthoni announced the crackdown in collaboration with the Pharmacy and Poison Board to eliminate the sale of illegal nicotine and medicines in numerous outlets across the country.

Muthoni noted that there are numerous illegal nicotine products adversely affecting the health of young Kenyans, particularly those aged 15 years and above. These products are easily accessible in bars and chemists.

The PS highlighted that the use of non-approved nicotine products has been linked to numerous health issues, including respiratory and liver ailments, as well as cancer.

“The Tobacco Control Board and Pharmacy and Poison Board will launch a massive crackdown to wipe out all illegal nicotine products such as pouches which are put under the tongue and also electric cigarettes,” she said in Kerugoya on Wednesday.

PS Muthoni noted that these products are covertly sold to school-going children by unscrupulous traders around schools. She warned those selling the illegal substances and called on the boards to intensify operations and apprehend perpetrators in the illicit trade.

In August last year, health advocates cautioned that Kenya was at risk of a resurgence of highly addictive nicotine products previously banned by the Ministry of Health.

A Nairobi-based survey found that nicotine pouches, vapes, e-cigarettes, and various forms of chewed tobacco were among the products not complying with the Tobacco Control Act and its regulations.

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