UW-ITC Project report urges Kenya to take action now to curb global tobacco epidemic

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Dr, Fong & Dr. Kaai cutting ribbon in NairobiThe Secretary of Administration in the Ministry of Health, Mr. Francis Musyimi (right) receives the International Tobacco Control Kenya National Report from Dr. Geoffrey Fong (left) and Dr. Susan Kaai (middle) who are researchers from the University of Waterloo and developed the report. 

Three million Kenyans aged 15 years and above smoke cigarettes, the International Tobacco Control Kenya survey report says.

The survey conducted in 21 counties between November and December 2012 was launched yesterday at Panafric Hotel, Nairobi.

It shows 83 per cent of the men are smokers.

Out of the 17 per cent women who smoke, 66 per cent use the smokeless tobacco.

Jane Ongang’o of the Kenya Medical Research Institute said only 40 per cent of Kenyan smokers have tried to quit.

Some 17 per cent plan to quit in six months.

Though concern for personal health was the most common reason for thinking about quitting, Ongang’o said smokeless tobacco smokers, majority of whom are women, are less likely to attempt to quit.

The report says 87 per cent of smoking men use factory-made cigarettes.

Some 12 per cent go for hand-rolled single stick cigarettes.

Another 91 per cent said they smoke more than eight cigarettes a day.

The report indicates tobacco use has increased since the Kenya Demographic Health Survey conducted in 2008-09, which found 19 per cent of men and 1.8 per cent of women use tobacco.

The ITC survey shows 16 per cent of adults in Kenya are general users of tobacco products.

Tobacco use prevalence ranges from nine per cent in Western and Nyanza to as high as 26 per cent in Coast.

Types of tobacco products used differ between men and women.

The report shows men smokers have a higher use of menthol and sweet menthol cigarettes.

The report recommends reduction of access to and affordability of tobacco products through taxation.

“There is a need to strengthen enforcement of the ban on the sale of cigarettes by single sticks and implement a more specific ban on the use of misleading false or deceptive packaging and labelling,” the report says.

 

 By PATRICK VIDIJA The STAR 

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