Big­ger gory im­ages on cig­a­rette packs to be used af­ter re­view

There is a trend for coun­tries to use graphic pic­tures to show health ef­fects of smok­ing

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics Ministries /judiciary - JOHN MUCHANGI @jo­munji

The pic­to­rial warn­ings on Kenyan cig­a­rette pack­ets are too small com­pared to the global av­er­age, a new re­port shows.

The im­ages cover only about 40 per cent of the lo­cal packet. They also ap­pear on the bot­tom of pack­ets, con­trary to a World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion rec­om­men­da­tion that the cig­a­rette logo should be placed be­low.

The find­ings im­ply to­bacco firms could be hav­ing an eas­ier time mar­ket­ing cig­a­rettes in Kenya, yet they are still op­posed to the im­ages.

The find­ings are con­tained in the Cig­a­rette Pack­age Health Warn­ings: In­ter­na­tional Sta­tus Re­port, which ranks coun­tries on the size of their health warn­ings.

“In to­tal 94 coun­tries/ju­ris­dic­tions have re­quired warn­ings to cover at least 50 per cent of the pack­age front and back (on av­er­age),” says the re­port.

Kenya is num­ber 110 among 152 coun­tries ranked ac­cord­ing to the size of the pic­to­rial warn­ings.

The Health min­istry is ex­pected to re­view the cur­rent im­ages, in­tro­duced in Septem­ber, and in­tro­duce larger ones af­ter six months.

“There is a pow­er­ful, world­wide trend for coun­tries to use graph- ic pic­tures on cig­a­rette pack­ages to show the dev­as­tat­ing health ef­fects of smok­ing, and to re­quire plain pack­ag­ing,” says Rob Cun­ning­ham, se­nior pol­icy an­a­lyst, Cana­dian Cancer So­ci­ety, who re­leased the re­port in In­dia at the COP7 meet­ing of the WHO Frame­work Con­ven­tion on To­bacco Con­trol.

The WHO rec­om­mends more than 50 per cent pic­to­rial warn­ing on the front and back. Direc­tor of Med­i­cal Ser­vices Jack­son Kioko said Kenya had made a good start. “Sixty per cent of smok­ers thought of quit­ting be­cause of health warn­ing la­bels on pack­ag­ing. We be­lieve this move will dissuade even the youth from en­gag­ing in early smok­ing,” he said.

/JACK OWUOR

A smoker puffs at a cig­a­rette.The Health min­istry is ex­pected to re­view the cur­rent warn­ing im­ages, in­tro­duced in Septem­ber

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