Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache will lead celebrations to commemorate ‘World No Tobacco Day’ at the university of Nairobi, Great court.
This yearly celebration informs the public on the dangers of using tobacco, the business practices of tobacco companies.
Every year, more than 8,100 Kenyans die of tobacco related diseases, while more than 220,000 children and more than 2,737,000 adults continue to use tobacco each day.
The Member States of the World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes.
In 1987, the World Health Assembly passed Resolution WHA40.38, calling for 7 April 1988 to be a “a world no-smoking day.” In 1988, Resolution WHA42.19 was passed, calling for the celebration of World No Tobacco Day, every year on 31 May.
According to WHO, the harmful impact of the tobacco industry on the environment is vast and growing adding unnecessary pressure to the planet’s already scarce resources and fragile ecosystems.
Tobacco kills over 8 million people every year and destroys our environment, further harming human health, through the cultivation, production, distribution, consumption, and post-consumer waste.
Last year a report by the Ministry of Health (MoH) indicated that Kenya is making progress towards combating smoking through strong tobacco control policies like picture-based health warnings, but there still remain significant challenges.
The report describes the findings of a national survey that was conducted twice in 2012 and in 2018 by researchers from the University of Nairobi, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, and in collaboration with the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project), centered at the University of Waterloo in Canada.
The surveys were conducted among 1,500 tobacco users and 600 non-tobacco users and found that introduction of picture warnings significantly increased the effectiveness of warnings.
Awareness of the warnings increased from 64% to 72% of smokers; thinking about the health risks of smoking increased from 28% to 43% of smokers; and smokers who said that health warnings made them “a lot” more likely to quit increased from 24% to 38%. Knowledge of many of the health effects caused by smoking increased between 2012 and 2018.
The survey is part of the 29-country ITC Project, which since 2002, has evaluated policies of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), a global health treaty which Kenya ratified in 2004.
As a Party to the FCTC, Kenya is obligated to implement strong national policies to reduce tobacco use, including large pictorial health warnings, bans on smoking in public places, bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, and increases in tobacco taxes and prices.
In 2016, Kenya introduced 3 picture-based health warnings on cigarette packages following the unsuccessful challenge by British American Tobacco (BAT). However, the report also identified the need for the Government of Kenya to strengthen tobacco control efforts.