Kenya plans to fast track ratification of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) tobacco treaty that aims to combat illicit trade in tobacco products.

Ministry of Health Head of the Tobacco Control Unit Dorcas Kiptui told a health forum in Nairobi Thursday that the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products which was adopted globally in 2012 will soon be presented to Cabinet for approval.

“Thereafter the protocol will be tabled in parliament to be ratified so that it becomes part of Kenyan law,” Kiptui said during a Tobacco Control Workshop.

The Protocol is part of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) that comes into force in 2005.

Entry into force of the Protocol requires 40 countries to ratify. Kenya ratified the WHO FCTC through the 2007 Tobacco Control Act.

Kiptui said that the Protocol will help to fight the growing international illicit trade in tobacco products that denies government of tax revenues.

Data from the ministry of health indicates that approximately 11.6 percent of the adult population consume tobacco products.

Kiptui said that the government is committed to ensure that it reduces the rate of use of tobacco products due to the harmful effects.

“Tobacco is a risk factor in four of the most common Non Communicable Diseases in the country including diabetes, cancer, chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases,” she added.

According to the ministry of health official, for every one dollar earned from the tobacco industry, three dollars is spent on treating the harmful health effects of using tobacco.

Kiptui added that the government is seeking to increase the level of taxation in tobacco products that currently stands at 49 percent of the retail price.

“Our aim is to gradually improve the percentage of tax on retail price of tobacco to the WHO recommended level of 70 percent,” she added. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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