KENYA – The Kenya Tobacco Control Board in partnership with the Ministry of Health has launched a nationwide sensitization and awareness campaign against the use of tobacco and nicotine products including cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, vape and chewing tobacco.

Kenyan health stakeholders have embarked on the sensitization campaign in time to commemorate the 2022 World No Tobacco Day, observed across the globe every year on May 31, to spread awareness around the risks of tobacco consumption.

Health officials will discuss the ill effects of tobacco on one’s health and the need of quitting tobacco in every form to lead a disease-free life throughout the sensitization campaign.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year more than 8 million people die due ailments related to tobacco consumption yet tobacco use continues to rapidly increase among people of all age groups.

Tobacco products contain toxins, cancer-causing agents and nicotine which can lead to extreme life-threatening health complications such as oral cancer and other types of cancer, risk of contracting cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, cognitive impairment and infertility.

There would be a 50 per cent reduction in tobacco related disease burden in every country if tobacco use is controlled, according to the World Health Organization.

Subsequently, the Tobacco Control Board will work with public and community health workers among other health stakeholders drawn from various counties as ambassadors to create awareness among members of the public about the dangers of tobacco use.

The health officials will also warn about adverse impacts of emerging tobacco and nicotine products on the health system since they still contained nicotine as the main ingredient, a substance which poses a health risk for its users.

The emerging products include e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn products, pouches like lyft or velo, lozenges and chewing gums laced with nicotine.

The campaign also presents an opportunity for the stakeholders to create awareness about the Tobacco Control Act of 2007 which was adopted as a way of addressing the tobacco epidemic by the World Health Organization member states through the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

The law was enacted in Kenya as a way of regulating the use of tobacco through regulation of cigarette smoking in public, tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, packaging and labeling of tobacco products, public education among other obligations.

Moreover, Tobacco Control Board Chairperson Nancy Gachoka revealed that they were collaborating with WHO, Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Programme Kenya to introduce farmers to alternative crops to eliminate health risks associated with tobacco growing.

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