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Proposed bill to ban sale of cigarettes in universities.

Selling cigarettes in parks and learning institutions including universities will be banned if the Nairobi City County Tobacco Control Bill 2018 is passed.

The bill seeks to protect the health status of people, especially those below 18 years, by preventing their access to tobacco products.

"No person shall sell or offer tobacco products in a health institution, an educational institution including a nursery, primary school, secondary, child care facility, college, university or any institution of higher learning," the bill reads.

The bill also aims to ban the selling or smoking of tobacco products in places which are easily accessible by persons aged below 18 years.

Such places include amusement parks, public parks or any public entertainment facility. In this case, parks within the city centre such as Uhuru, Jamhuri and Luna will be tobacco-free.

The bill was brought to the house by Dandora 4 MCA Charles Thuo and it was read for the second time this week on Tuesday.

Speaking to the Star yesterday, Thuo said restricting tobacco smoking in these areas will keep children safe from respiratory diseases which can be easily caught by non-smokers.

"We want our children to enjoy the parks and entertainment places without having to struggle to grasp for fresh air as a result of tobacco smokers," Thuo said.

People who will be found doing the contrary will be committing an offence and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh50,000 or face imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month.

If the bill is passed, it will also be illegal to smoke in court buildings, public streets, places of worship, police stations, public transport terminals and bus parks, markets and shopping malls.

"Most tobacco users are found in public places especially in transport terminals and markets. The same places are where you find a huge number of people carrying out different activities and they become passive smokers by default. This bill will protect them against this," Thuo explained.

The bill further gives a description of how a designated smoking area room should be structured. Currently, the Central Business District has only five smoking zones located at Jevanjee Gardens, near the Holy Family Basilica, Tusker Bus Station, Uhuru Park and down River Road, along Latema Road.

The one near Holy Family Basilica is a wooden shed built beside public toilets.

Uhuru Park which is just under the nose of the Ministry of Health has two small designated open-air smoking areas.

Users smoke right outside the Tusker Bus station smoking zone, releasing the fumes to the public.

According to the bill, the designated smoking area should be a room that is properly ventilated.

The room should be separate, enclosed and sealed from the roof with a door.

The bill states that the room should also be located in such a way that non-smokers do not have to enter the area for any purpose while smoking is taking place.

If passed, no person shall sell or offer to sell a tobacco product unless it is hidden from view of the general public at the point of sale.

Last month, a number of business operators in Nairobi rejected the proposed bill, terming it a "subjective and evil way of raising revenue".

They said if signed, the law will push many small businesses out of work and disrupt activities in the country's tobacco sector.

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Apr 6, 2019
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