Kenya's health minister has accused the country's pharmacy board of violating the law by selling LYFT in vending machines. The pharmacy board declined to comment on the issue. BAT Kenya said it would respond to the regulator's letter later Wednesday.
Tax relief for liquid nicotine
The Tobacco Control and Health Promotion Alliance (TCHPA) in Kenya has called for an increase in the tax on liquid nicotine pouches. The organization also hopes to see a similar increase in the tax on conventional cigarettes. Currently, 2.5 million Kenyans smoke and 9,000 die every year from smoking-related diseases.
Kenya is the only country that taxes electronic cigarettes, at a rate of 3,000 Kenyan shillings per cartridge or device, while South Africa does not charge any taxes at all. The tax on electronic cigarettes was introduced in the country in October 2020, but BAT Kenya Plc, which produces tobacco, has already imported ten tonnes of Velo from South Africa in July 2022. It has also ordered additional supplies.
The tax on liquid nicotine would increase to Sh70 per millilitre, which would make them more expensive. The tax would also reduce access to these products because they contain no tobacco. Furthermore, the WHO considers nicotine products to be essential medicines. They are 95% safer than cigarettes.
The BBB bill has no Republican support, and can only be passed through the budget reconciliation process, which requires a simple majority of both houses. In the House, the bill appears on track to be passed, but Democratic senators have voiced opposition and concerns about the bill's cost. They will have to work hard to convince all of their colleagues to vote for it. Nevertheless, it is possible that even one Democratic senator could stop the bill.
BAT Kenya is lobbying the Kenyan government to lift the ban on nicotine pouches
BAT Kenya is lobbying the Kenyan government to lift the ban on nicotine pouches. The subsidiary of the tobacco giant has intensified its talks with the government over the issue. The ban was put in place following a regulatory dispute. In February, the Kenyan Ministry of Health declared the products illegal. The Ministry wanted to apply the same regulations that apply to cigarettes to nicotine pouches. The Kenya Tobacco Control Act would govern the marketing of the products.
BAT Kenya Plc imported ten tonnes of nicotine pouches from South Africa and ordered more in August. The company has also been selling highly addictive pouches under the Velo brand name. It has been reported that over 77 million people smoke in Africa and more than two hundred thousand die every year from smoking-related diseases. In Kenya, over 30,000 people die each year.
The tobacco industry has invested heavily in research and development to come up with new products and strategies to win over smokers. The company's latest e-cigarette, the Velo, is an ice-white nicotine pouch with flavoured pods. It is marketed as discreet and comes in different flavours.
In a bid to counter this trend, the tobacco industry has used social media and sports events to promote its products. The company even used online influencers to promote their products. It's important to remember that tobacco advertising is banned on F1 cars and has been since 2006, but BAT has changed this policy. They now sponsor McLaren Formula One, and their sponsorship deal includes the "A Better Tomorrow" slogan.
Industry's lobbying for their reintroduction in Kenya
In Kenya, the biggest manufacturer of cigarettes, British American Tobacco, has lobbied government officials to reintroduce the nicotine pouch. It is pressing for the opening of a $2.5 million plant in Nairobi to manufacture the pouches. The company, BAT Kenya Plc, recently imported ten tonnes of Velo from South Africa. It has since ordered more supplies. The new product is a substitute for cigarettes that were banned in October 2020.
The company's nicotine pouches are known under brand names such as LYFT and Velo. They contain synthetic nicotine and contain no tobacco leaf, stem, or dust. They are placed under the user's lips to deliver the nicotine. This new product is gaining popularity in the youth market and has not been subjected to the same regulations as a cigarette.
The report was produced through interviews with industry stakeholders and an analysis of tobacco control publications and government documents. It also included research on nicotine and oral nicotine pouches. It also analyzed the impact of various tobacco control measures in Kenya. The findings from the study highlight several major violations of the Kenya Tobacco Control Act.
There is little doubt that the tobacco industry is trying to expand its market in the African continent. In some African countries, it has developed innovative marketing strategies using music to target youths and fashion shows to entice women to buy their products. In addition to these innovative tactics, the tobacco industry has undermined efforts to introduce effective tobacco laws. They have also engaged in the smuggling of tobacco products into the continent.