The British American Tobacco (BAT) has challenged the Tobacco Control Act, 2007 unsuccessfully for sometime now.
In March 2017, BAT Kenya Plc filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of Kenya against the Court of Appeal’s judgment upholding the legality of the Tobacco Control Regulations 2014.
On the 26th November, 2019, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Kenyans.
What does the Tobacco Control Act, 2007 say?
Tobacco Control Act, 2007 is the principal law governing tobacco control in Kenya. This comprehensive law defines keys terms and covers topics including, but not limited to, restrictions on public smoking; tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and packaging and labeling of tobacco products.
Other topics addressed by the law include: public education and information campaigns; sales to minors; and enforcement of the law. The Tobacco Control Act, 2007 grants powers, including implementation and enforcement authority, to individuals appointed under the Public Health Act. The Traffic Act provides a definition of “public service vehicle,” incorporated by the Tobacco Control Act with regards to smoke free provisions.
The Tobacco Control Regulations, 2014 require combined picture and text health warnings and further regulate other provisions under the Tobacco Control Act, 2007 including public smoking restrictions, tobacco product and tobacco industry disclosures, and an annual fee placed on tobacco product manufacturers and importers, which will contribute to a tobacco control fund. (via Tobacco Control Laws Organization)
Mr. Joel Gitali, the Chairman, Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance released a statement applauding the court’s decision.
“Today, the Supreme Court has ruled to stop this senseless killing of defenseless Kenyans. Since 2007, when the Tobacco Control Act was enacted, every attempt by the government to implement and enforce the law to protect the lives of Kenyans, has been opposed or blocked by the tobacco industry…We congratulate the Supreme Court for upholding the regulations, confirming they conform to the Kenyan Constitution, whose main goal is also to protect health and lives of Kenyans’, Mr. Gitali said.
BAT Kenya in its response to the Supreme Court verdict stated through their Managing Director Beverley Spencer-Obatoyinbo: “We respect the Court’s judgment but are obviously disappointed. Our appeal raised important issues as to the nature and extent of public participation in the legislative process. Today’s ruling will have very serious implications for the checks and balances on Government policy and legislative formulation that go far beyond the tobacco industry. We remain concerned that some parts of the Regulations are unnecessarily onerous and present a risk of arbitrary enforcement and harassment against consumers and the tens of thousands of retailers and distributors in our supply chain. The introduction of the Solatium Compensatory Contribution will also place the local industry at a significant disadvantage relative to tobacco manufacturers based in other EAC partner states. In addition, the limitations on government-industry interactions pose a very real threat to the industry’s ability to work with govemment agencies on fundamental issues, such as the fight against illicit trade in cigarettes. An issue which is costing the Government at least Shs 2.5 billion annually in unpaid taxes”
Below find attached the full statements of the two entities.
Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance
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