Globally, one person dies every six seconds because of tobacco use. If left unchecked, tobacco is predicted to kill more than 8 million people globally each year by 2030. Conversely, the 6-leading tobacco companies (Phillip Morris International, British American Tobacco, China National Corporation, Imperial, Altria/Philip Morris USA and Japan Tobacco International) are experiencing tremendous growth, commanding a combined gross profit of Ksh. 4.41 Trillion (USD 44.1 B), a return greater than the GDP of Norway. Driven by their main objective of profit maximization, the Tobacco Industry (TI), has sought to manipulate governments to safeguard and expand their markets.
The overall goal of this study was to provide insight into TI activities in Kenya to inform the implementation of tobacco control policies. This was to be achieved by the specific objectives of the study which were to; (1) document the history of tobacco industry interference in Kenya, (2) create awareness on tobacco industry tactics to policy makers, decision makers and the public and (3) to stimulate action planning and monitoring to reduce tobacco industry interference in public health policy making and implementation in Kenya.
The Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Archive (http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu), a database compiled by the University of California in San Francisco since 2002,served as the primary source of information for the study and supplemented with information through the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) media articles, journal articles, websites and Key Informant Interviews with relevant government officials and Civil Society actors. Remarks from the KIIs and findings from the library were triangulated with information collected from other sources.
This study established that the TI in Kenya, for over half a century, repeatedly interfered with the development and implementation of tobacco control policies using 6 broad tactics including: use of front groups, use of tobacco advertisements, promotion and sponsorship, influencing policy development and legislative processes, Illicit and deceptive trade practices, Intimidation and litigation, and provision of phony statistics and research evidence.
The report finally makes recommendations that will be important in aiding government ministries, agencies and Civil Society Organizations to close ranks and not only closely monitor the trends and actions of the TI, but also pre-empt any interference attempts on tobacco control policies by actively countering their interference tactics.