The Kenya Tobacco Control Board (TCB) has rolled out a comprehensive nationwide education and information campaign aimed at sensitizing the public to health hazards posed by exposure and consumption of tobacco.
The program promotes public awareness and is one of the key mandates of TCB. It focuses on community workers, social workers, educators, and decision-makers from all the 47 counties of Kenya.
Already, healthcare workers from Nyeri, Murang’a and Kirinyaga counties have benefited from one of the activities of the public awareness program that was held in Nyeri County on May 26th, 2022.
“The use of health officials as champions of the messaging on the dangers of tobacco has been rolled out to other 24 counties bringing the total number of counties covered to 28”, says the Tobacco Board Chairperson, Nancy Gachoka.
She further notes that in an effort to build a critical mass that is able to stand for its rights as far as tobacco use and exposure is concerned, TCB is educating the public about the Tobacco Control Act, 2007 and pushing for the amendment of the same for the act to sufficiently address the emerging issues.
Just like its predecessors, the current Kenya Tobacco Board developed the Tobacco Control Board Strategic Plan 2020 – 2022 in order to be able to take more concrete actions to protect citizens from the harmful effects of tobacco use without which tobacco users will continue to fall victims of lifelong nicotine addiction.
Concerns on the re-emergence of tobacco products that contain high levels of nicotine have been raised. With the high prevalence of smoking in Kenya, so many people are exposed to health risks. According to the Chairperson, the Government of Kenya will incur an expenditure Ksh. 21 billion in treating tobacco-related conditions which is three times the revenue earned from tobacco.
The public nationwide education and information campaign spearheaded by the TCB is intended to protect the citizenry from grievous effects whose ramifications ravage even the tobacco farming communities.
The growth of the tobacco industry has also brought a bag of mixed tidings. Tobacco farming communities, majorly in Nyanza and Western regions, have borne the brunt of this venture.
They hardly get returns; their environment has been degraded and are exposed to health risks. Data from the Ministry of Health estimates that 60% of patients treated in health facilities in tobacco-growing areas of Kenya suffer from tobacco-related ailments.