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Anti-tobacco lobbies ask Kagwe to ban LYFT nicotine pouches

April 24, 2021

  • Lyft is a nicotine pouch marketed by BAT Kenya as an alternative to cigarettes for addicted smokers.
  • In a petition written to the Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, they further want the ministry to remain steadfast and fully implement tobacco control policies

Anti-tobacco lobbies now want the government to completely ban the manufacture, sale and importation nicotine pouches commonly known as LYFT in Kenya.

The lobbies argue that LYFT is not a pharmaceutical drug but one causing serious addiction among young people as well contributing to the alarming increase of non-communicable diseases in the country.

The Pharmacy and Poisons Board had registered it as a pharmaceutical drug.

The lobbies include the Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance, the International Institute for Legislative Affairs, the National Taxpayer Association, the Kenyan Network of Cancer Organizations, Den of Hope Youth Group, Consumer Information Network,  Scad Kenya and Social Liberation and Health Promotion Network.

In a petition written to the Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, they further want the ministry to fully implement tobacco control policies and measures to prevent imminent addiction and tobacco epidemic in the country.

The letter has been copied to the chairperson Tobacco Control Board Wilfred Lesan and the secretary Tobacco Control Board, Kepha Ombacho.

“We are convinced that these products were illegally allowed into the Kenyan market and that PPB contravened the law. We applaud your swift action that saw the withdrawal of these products from the market,” the letter reads in part.

“We are, however, concerned that BAT is still committed to have these products sold in the Kenyan market. The government has a legal obligation to protect its people more so the Kenyan youth against these tobacco products and their derivatives known to cause preventable diseases and avoidable premature deaths of millions of people globally every year,” it adds.

Kagwe in October last year declared the registration of the nicotine illegal and ordered that they be deregistered.

The CS further notes that market surveillance has revealed that the product is dispensed in automatic vending machines contrary to the law.

"In view of the above, therefore, you are required to furnish the ministry with comprehensive report on the criteria used and circumstances leading to the registration and licensing of the product under the Pharmacy and Poisons Act," the CS said.

The product has been gaining popularity since it was introduced in the market late last year.

Lyft is a nicotine pouch marketed by BAT Kenya as an alternative to cigarettes for addicted smokers.

The pouch is placed inside the mouth between the lip and gums for extended periods.

Source: The Star