Lobby groups want new nicotine pouch Lyft deregistered - Beaking Kenya News

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Saturday, 3 October 2020

Lobby groups want new nicotine pouch Lyft deregistered


Health experts and anti-tobacco lobby groups want the government to deregister Lyft, a new product introduced in the country as an alternative to cigarettes for addicted smokers.

The nicotine pouch is registered under the Pharmacy and Poisons Board as a pharmaceutical product that can treat cigarette addiction.

However, speaking in Nairobi on Friday, the lobbyists noted that the product is not pharmaceutical, cautioning instead that it causes serious addiction among the youth.

Lyft is marketed by BAT Kenya. It has been gaining popularity since its introduction in the market late last year.

Of great concern, however, is that it is abused by even children as it is sold over the counter and is easily available even in local shops for Sh20.

The lobbyists want the government to impose a ban on nicotine pouches or impose stiffer regulatory measures on how such products are sold and dispensed.

“The government should remain committed to protecting public health by imposing heavy taxes on all products being introduced into the market by tobacco companies, including oral nicotine products and e-cigarettes,” Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance (Ketca) national coordinator Thomas Lindi said.

“The taxation level should be equal to those of combustible tobacco products."

The pouch is usually placed inside the mouth between the lip and gums for extended periods. A warning written on the product says it contains nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance.

However, BAT has always maintained that the product is a tobacco-free modern oral nicotine pouch and is meant for adult population. But the lobbyists disagree. 

“Products that cause addiction that have got similar effects to those we experience by consuming tobacco must be treated the way we treat tobacco products,” Ketca chairman Joel Gitali said.

"So there is no way someone will tell us that this nicotine does not come from tobacco and should not be treated like that one that comes from tobacco.”

Gitali called on the government to take responsibility and protect Kenyans, especially the youth, from such products.

Other organisations that want the product deregistered include the National Taxpayers Association, the Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance of Kenya, the International Institute for Legislative Affairs and the Kenya Network of Cancer Organisations.

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