By Samuel Ouma
The African Centre for Corrective and Preventive Action (ACCPA), a Kenyan-based NGO, seeks to raise the minimum smoking age to 21 with the introduction of a new Bill in Parliament.
The draft to amend the Tobacco Act of 2007 from 18 to 21 will protect those below the age of 18 from exposure to incidences of debilitating illness, disease, disability, and death resulting from smoking cigarettes and tobacco.
ACCPA chairman Mwangi Macharia said limiting smokers’ age will be instrumental for both health and behavioral reasons.
“Tobacco control is the single most preventable cause of death in the world today and is estimated to kill more than five million people every year, more than tuberculosis, HIV/Aids and malaria combined. By 2030, the death toll will exceed eight million a year, unless urgent action is taken,” stated Mr. Machararia in his memorandum sent to the Parliament.
If the Bill sails through, Kenya will join the US’s likes, which has prohibited smoking among those under 21.
In December 2019, Former US President Donald Trump assent into Bill the law barring anyone under 21 from buying or any other tobacco products in the country.
The new law approved by the US congress also applied to electronic cigarettes and vaping products that heat a liquid containing nicotine.
Elsewhere, the Indian government also early this year drafted a Bill to increase the smoking age to 21 from the current 18.
India’s Union Health Ministry prepared the Bill.