Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death, disease and disability resulting in 7 million deaths yearly in the world with approximately 890,000 of these deaths occurring as result of exposure to second hand tobacco smoke . In Kenya, 2.5 million adults (11.6% of the population) currently use tobacco products (19.1% of men and 4.5% of women , while 9.9% of Kenyan youth aged between 13-15 years, (12.8% boys and 6.7% girls) currently used tobacco products
Tax and price measures have been found to be one of the most effective tobacco control strategy due to their potential to discourage initiation, encourage quitting of tobacco use and generating much needed revenue for governments.
Article 6 of the WHO FCTC (World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control) requires parties to implement tax policies and, where appropriate, price measures on tobacco products so as to contribute to health objectives of the treaty . Kenya signed and ratified the WHO FCTC in 2004 and domesticated it through the Tobacco Control Act (TCA), which requires, amongst other things, that the Minister of Finance should implement tax and price policies on Tobacco and tobacco products so as to contribute to the objectives of the Act.
Study justification and Approach
The WHO FCTC recognizes the need to be alert to industry efforts to undermine and subvert tobacco control activities in countries and Article 5.3 encourages parties to protect their public health policies relating to tobacco control from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law .
Tobacco industry own internal documents, made public following lawsuits in the United States (US), are now held at the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library (http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu) created in 2002 by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Center for Knowledge Management of the United States. The documents provide evidence of the industry’s clear pattern of interference with tobacco control and public health policy development and implementation around the world, including Kenya. This brief presents evidence of tobacco industry- British American Tobacco (BAT) and Mastermind Kenya (MTK) interference in tobacco tax and price measures in Kenya.
This brief has been developed from a research carried out by IILA in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the Center for Tobacco Control in Africa (CTCA) and University of Colorado, Denver. A comprehensive search of the truth library documents was done where documents relating to industry interference in Kenya were mapped. These documents were then used to construct a historical and thematic narrative. This data was triangulated with additional sources, including purposively sampled Key Informant Interviews (KII) with relevant government ministries and agencies, civil society, and other actors; desk review of published literature and searches of news media (print and web).