Smoking in public places is now illegal in Kenya, the health minister, Charity Ngilu, declared last week. As she was signing the legal notice to start the entrenchment of the ban into the country`s laws, she said stern action would be taken against anyone found smoking in public and work places, adding that many people were unfairly getting smoking related illnesses and even dying as a result of other people`s habits.
We have decided to take deliberate actions to protect innocent members of the public, especially children and young people since passive smoking inhibits the growth of the brain ", she said. The same concerns were echoed by members of the narcotics and drugs agency (NACADA) and the director of medical services in Kenya, Dr.Nyikal. He said the same kind of law came into place in the United Kingdom and is working effectively, but some members of the public think the grace period should be extended to one year.
In the legal notice, cigarette packets will be required to carry the slogan SMOKING KILLS " which should be more prominent than the brand name. Although the tobacco industry contributes to the economy, Dr.Nyikal said that the cost of medical treatment from smoking complication cannot be overlooked. He said lives are also lost because of the complications. He said the legal notice was thought-up because of a raging public debate on passive smoking and its effects.
Car fumes more dangerous "
But Mr. Erick Ochieng, a smoker, argues that the ban is unnecessary because fumes produced by cars are far more dangerous than tobacco smoke. He also thinks it is unfair for people who smoke as it is denying them the pleasure of a good smoke ". His argument comes late, because from world No Smoking Day, March 31st, a smoke " in public will leave him panting from the hefty fine of 50,000 shillings to be charged on offenders of the law.
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