The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Tobacco Control Board is sensitizing stakeholders and the public on the dangers of tobacco and new emerging tobacco products.
The nationwide awareness sensitization exercise is part of the Pre-World No Tobacco Day which is commemorated on 31st May every year and is aimed at raising awareness and enlightening the public about tobacco consumption and how Kenyans can be prevented from deadly diseases caused by consumption of it.
According to World Health Organization, the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than 8 million people a year around the world. More than seven million of these deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non¬smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
Addressing members during the sensitization, Charles Karisa, Chief Executive Officer Kilifi County noted that spreading awareness around anti-tobacco is a good step in saving our country’s future.
“Smoking remains the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the developed world. There is need for increased awareness of the enormity of the problem and the benefits of smoking cessation,” he said.
The tobacco industry has developed and continues to aggressively market new and emerging products such as electronic cigarettes, tobacco pouches for sucking, snuffing, and vaporized products among others. To respond to these threats, state parties signed and ratified the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC) 2004. Kenya ratified the convention in May 2004; enacted the Tobacco Control Act (TCA) 2007 and the Tobacco Control Regulations 2014 to domesticate the global convention.
One of the state obligations under the convention and the Act is to promote public awareness about the health consequences, addictive nature, mortal threat posed by tobacco consumption, exposure to smoke and harmful effects of tobacco growing and handling through a comprehensive national wide education and information campaign.
Phase one of the sensitization covers 25 counties clustered into 8 regions converging in Mombasa, Garissa, Nyeri, Nakuru, Kakamega, Machakos, Kisii, and Eldoret.
The need for implementing smoking-cessation services is increasing. Policymakers possess the greatest potential to promote a reduction in tobacco use. Those being sensitized include County secretaries, County Health Services County Executive Committee Members, Directors for health, County public health officers, County clinical services, County commissioners, County police command, County inspectorate, County directors of education, Chief magistrates, Chair, health committee – county assembly, County attorneys and County clerks- county assembly.