1 in 5 Kenyans exposed to second hand tobacco smoke.


NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 8 – Health Cabinet Secretary Dr. Cleopa Mailu has called for the immediate enforcement of the Tobacco Control Act (2007) which prohibits smoking in public places, after a survey released on Friday revealed that one in five adults in the country was exposed to second hand tobacco smoking.

The Study dubbed STEPwise Survey showed that 21 percent of Kenyans were exposed to this smoke while at work and 24 percent at home.

Dr. Mailu noted that the statistics were worrying owing to the health risks associated with the habit, further tasking the Tobacco Control Board with implementing the law.

“I am therefore directing the division of environmental health to strengthen the enforcement of the provisions of smoke free areas, as provided for in the Act,” he said.

The law prohibits smoking in any public place including homes in which children are exposed, work places, health institutions and Court buildings.

According to the Study one in five adults are exposed to second hand tobacco smoke at home.

“I am glad that despite numerous challenges a lot of efforts have gone into tobacco control. More however remains to be done,” observed the CS.

Dr. Mailu explained that the law also laid out designated areas for the sport and attracted penalties for smoking in public places.

Any person found to have broken this law is liable to a fine not exceeding Ksh50,000, six months imprisonment or both.

The Study also found that 13 percent of Kenyans consumed tobacco. In addition, men who smoked cigarettes every day used an average of seven sticks per day.

In the 12 months that preceded the study, one out of 10 tobacco smokers had been advised by a health care provider to stop smoking. Three in 10 had tried to stop the habit.

Dr. Mailu further expressed concern at the number of Kenyans who were heavy alcohol consumers.

“Thirteen percent of Kenyans engage in heavy episodic drinking of alcohol, which has been associated with many acute health and social consequences,” he said.

Approximately 19 percent of Kenyans drink alcohol while 17 percent of former alcohol drinkers stopped due to health reasons.

Further, 3.4 percent of the respondents reported to having driven vehicles while under the influence of alcohol.

The STEPwise Survey was conducted between April and June, 2015 by the Ministry’s Division of Non Communicable Diseases to determine the risk factors. Six thousand adults aged between 18 and 69 participated.