Kenya imposes tough cigarette packaging rules

February 2, 2015
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The health warning message on the front of the package will be printed in English while the back package will be in Kiswahili.
The health warning message on the front of the package will be printed in English while the back package will be in Kiswahili.

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 2 – Cigarette manufacturers, distributors and importers will not be allowed to put brand names or trademarks on cigarette packages and wrappers starting June this year.

According to the new Tobacco Control Regulations 2014 published by the Ministry of Health on Monday, the cigarette packages will instead carry health warnings and pictograms on the front and back respectively.

“A person shall not manufacture, sell, distribute or import a tobacco product for sale in Kenya, whose package carries a name, brand name, text, trademark or pictorials or any representation or sign which suggest that the tobacco product is less harmful to health rather than other tobacco,” a section of the regulations stated.

The pictogram is required to be printed in full colour, contrasting with the background to ensure noticeability while the health warning messages will be printed in black and white.

The health warning message on the front of the package will be printed in English while the back package will be in Kiswahili.

“The manufacturer, seller, distributor or importer of the tobacco product shall ensure that the health warnings and messages shall be printed on both the wrapper and the packet,” the regulations published by Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said.

The cigarette packets will also contain a batch number to determine the place, manufacturing date and country of origin.

“A manufacturer shall, upon request, provide the Cabinet Secretary with information to enable him interpret the code marking on a tobacco product…”

The new regulations build up on the Tobacco Control Act of 2007, requiring manufactures to submit to the Ministry toxicological data on the ingredients and leaf used for the products.

While implementing investment and tax laws and other policies related to tobacco, the Ministry of Health says priority will be to tackle the adverse health, social, economic and environmental impacts of tobacco growing, manufacture, sale and consumption in Kenya.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Agriculture has now been urged to put in place viable economic alternatives for tobacco farmers.

“The Cabinet Secretary for the time being responsible for agriculture shall pursuant to section 13(1) of the Act put in place policies to promote appropriate, economically and viable alternatives for tobacco growers.”

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