Kenyans and the world at large have been urged to come together in conservation of the environment from Tobacco usage a head of World No Tobacco Day celebrations on 31st May 2022.
This year’s theme for the celebration of the day is “A threat to the environment” which calls on people to protect the environment by avoiding usage of tobacco and nicotine products.
According to the Tobacco Control and Health Promotion Alliance (TCHPA) Chairman Joel Gitali, right from its planting to usage, Tobacco has been the cause of deforestation, food insecurity and global warming.
In an interview with Taarifa News, Gitali said it is good seeing farmers from the Tobacco growing zones refine engage into farming other things that are useful to the society.
“This year we are looking about the relevance between tobacco control an the environment conservation. Tobacco right from the farm, they use heavy agrochemicals that affect the land and water masses around. During the spraying, those who work in the farms get addiction. Deforestaion is also experienced during the drying with air pollution being experienced too,” stated Gitali.
“Since the last day, we had the celebration are happy that the tobacco farmers are being helped to reform from the growing of the plant. The World Health Organization(WHO), World Food Program Organization (WFPO), and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and County governments have started helping farmers in the tobacco areas switch to viable economic alternatives,” he added.
Further on he called on the government to stop appointing people who are in business of tobacco to the Tobacco Control Board of the Ministry of Health because they make it hard to fight the usage of Tobacco.
The TCHPA Chairman was recently awarded by WHO for being at the fore front of ensuring people especially the youth stop using tobacco and nicotine products.
In the past Gitali said the MPs must ignore disinformation peddled by tobacco companies and associates.
“Parliament should even increase the amount and come up with more measures. It should not try to please the tobacco industry. If it wants to make any changes, it must consult the Ministry of Health. These dangerous nicotine products are accessible to minors which means the rate at which young people are recruited into drugs abuse is high. It is our belief this budget will reduce the harmful consumption of these products,” Gitali said.
Last month, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani proposed to change the taxation regime for liquid nicotine from the current (zero) shillings per unit to an excise duty of Ksh.70 per millilitre. The Finance Bill also proposes an increase in prices for cigarettes with filters from Ksh 3,447.61 per mille (one thousand sticks) to Ksh 3,825.99 per mille and an increase in prices for cigarettes without filters (plain cigarettes) from Ksh 2,502.74 per mille to Ksh 2,752.97 per mille.
Cigarettes, e-cigarettes and tobacco products contain many dangerous toxins.
“Every year, WHO recognizes individuals or organizations in each of the six WHO Regions for their accomplishments in the area of tobacco control. This recognition takes the form of WHO Director-General Special Recognition Award and World No Tobacco Day Awards,” stated WHO.
Kenya is a signatory to the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the world’s only health treaty, which calls for regular tax increases to fight tobacco and related products.