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Kenya’s Supreme Court on Tuesday made a ruling in support of tobacco control regulations that have been pending in court since 2007.

Justice Njoki Ndungu who read the ruling on behalf of other judges directed cigarette manufacturers to print clear graphical warnings on their products, admitting that the continued use of these products may lead to disability, diseases and death.

“We congratulate the Supreme Court for upholding the regulations and protecting the health and lives of Kenyans,” Joel Gitali, chairman, Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance (KTCA) told journalists after the ruling.

Gitali noted that by upholding the Tobacco Control Regulations in 2014, the Supreme Court has protected students who were being preyed on by cigarette manufacturers.

Since 2007, when the Tobacco Control Act was enacted, every attempt by the Kenyan government to implement and enforce the law to protect the lives of Kenyans has been opposed or blocked by the tobacco industry. British American Tobacco (BAT) had 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.

The company also obtained an injunction staying the implementation of the regulations until the Supreme Court delivered its judgment on the appeal. BAT Kenya argued that certain provisions of the regulations are disproportionate, oppressive and unconstitutional.

Beverley Spencer-Obatoyinbo, managing director for BAT Kenya said observed that the limitations on government and industry interactions pose a very real threat to the industry’s ability to work with government agencies on fundamental issues, such as the fight against illicit trade in cigarettes.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has demonstrated that tobacco kills up to half of its users, more than eight million victims each year globally. Enditem

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