Tobacco use, claims more than eight million lives worldwide every year. According to the World Health Organization(WHO), about 80% of the 1.1 billion smokers worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries, where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is heaviest.
Kenya is among the 181 signatories and parties to the WHO FCTC, a global convention through which to tobacco burden is addressed. Article 5.3 of the FCTC requires parties like Kenya to take proactive measures to protect public health policies from commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with their national law.
The recently launched, Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2019, conducted in 33 countries, reveals that governments’ efforts to tackle tobacco industry interference have been progressing slowly and are far from satisfactory.
In many countries, there is a lack of transparency when dealing with the tobacco industry. The non-health government departments remain vulnerable to tobacco industry interferenceThe Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2019
The report further recommends:
- Creation of awareness on tobacco industry interference across all the departments
- Limitation of interaction between public officers and the tobacco industry to only when strictly necessary
- Firewalling government officials by adopting a code of conduct or guideline for all government officials
- Ensuring greater transparency when dealing with the tobacco industry
- Denormalizing the so-called ” Socially responsible” activities by the tobacco industry
- Removing incentives to the tobacco industry
- Requiring information on production, marketing and revenue from the tobacco industry
- Requiring disclosure