Nairobi – Jim Arinaitwe, Centre Manager of Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa (CTCA), on Thursday, said tax measures would be used to control tobacco consumption in Kenya.
Arinaitwe said this at a news conference in Nairobi.
He said taxation had been found to be one of the most effective tobacco control strategies due to its potential to discourage initiation to tobacco use at an early age.
“Taxes can play a role in ensuring that tobacco is less affordable to consumers and, thus, discourage their use,” Arinaitwe said.
He added that the best practice in effective tobacco tax policy implementation requires tax to account for at least 70 per cent of retail price of tobacco products. “This will lead to increased tobacco price and increased quit rates,” he noted.
The manager noted low tobacco taxes should not be viewed as a pro-poor policy because it will lead to greater tobacco use amongst the poor who will end up bearing a disproportionate share of the health and economic burden of the product.
Kenya signed and ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2004 and domesticated it through the Tobacco Control Act.
This required the government to implement tax and price policies on tobacco and tobacco products that will reduce their consumption.
In Kenya, 2.5 million adults or 11.6 per cent of the population currently use tobacco products, while 9.9 per cent of youth between 13 to 15 years currently using tobacco products.
Arinaitwe said the tobacco industry had in the last 50 years repeatedly interfered with the development and implementation of tobacco control policies.
He noted that as much as possible tobacco tax and price measures should be protected against commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry. (Xinhua/NAN)