The government has announced a major clamp-down on smoking in public places in an effort to curb the use and abuse of tobacco, the state-run paper The Nation reports. Cigarette manufacturers are also required to print a Smoking Kills warning on packets to replace the present caution reading Cigarette smoking is harmful to your health. The measures, which were presented by health minister Charity Ngilu in mid-May, must now be gazetted before they can pass into law.
The restrictions affect office buildings, court houses, educational institutions, places of worship, police stations, residential areas, prisons, markets, shopping centres, cinemas, childrens homes and playing fields. People caught smoking in these places will be liable to a fine and/or a jail sentence. Bar and restaurant owners will also be subject to a penalty if people are found smoking on their premises. The restrictions are a stop-gap measure pending the approval of the Tobacco Bill curbing smoking and the marketing and promotion of tobacco products, which is currently stuck in parliament.
Roughly 8,000 people die from smoking and related causes each year in Kenya while a further 4,000 non-smokers are killed from secondary smoke, according to medical services director Dr James Nyikal. We must protect the latter while encouraging smokers to quit, he said.