British American Tobacco (BAT) Kenya says a proposed tobacco law by Nairobi County pushing for strict requirements could disrupt retail business.
BAT Kenya Managing Director Beverley Spencer-Obatoyinbo said the demands contained in the Nairobi City County Tobacco Bill 2018 represent over-regulation and are way above Kenya’s Tobacco Control Act 2007.
“The bill is an overregulation since it is asking for things above the Tobacco Act. BAT is open to transparent and predictable legal environment,” she said.
“The extreme restrictions at point of sale, for instance, may only result in unintended consequences like harassment and arrests.”
The bill seeks creation of county department responsible for health, which will issue licences to retailers of tobacco. Anybody manufacturing, distributing or selling any tobacco product within Nairobi will have to follow the law.
If not, a manufacturer, wholesaler or distributor will be fined up to Sh50,000 or one-month imprisonment while a retailer will face Sh10,000 fine or one month in prison. Employing the under-aged to sell, provide or supply any tobacco product will also attract fines.
Further, the bill wants all retailers of tobacco products to conspicuously display on their counters notice that the products are not for sale to persons below 18 years.
“No person shall sell or offer for sale a tobacco product unless it is hidden from view of the general public at the point of sale or by means of display that permits a person to handle a tobacco product before paying for it,” reads the bill in part.
Smoking in public is illegal in the city but selling of cigarettes is common in small shops, which may make it difficult for them to adhere to the laws being proposed.
Those found selling the product in health institutions, educational facilities and amusement parks or any area accessed by persons below 18 years will be breaking the law.
The bill tabled in County Assembly December last year is in the first reading stage alongside other crucial bills such as the Nairobi City County Trade Licensing Bill 2018 and Nairobi City County Public Road Transport and Traffic Management Bill 2018.