NGO wants tobacco usage age raised to 21 years

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Nairobi,KENYA:Kenya Tobacco Control Agency KTCA, a non-governmental organization has proposed the age of Tobacco usage to be raised to 21 years from the previous 18 years as enshrined in the constitution.

According to the KTCA Chairman Joel Gitali, most people aged  18 years are still in school or they are about to get to college level.

“We should push the age to 21 where the kid has at least left high school and we say always they should be protected at all cost” Said Gitali.

The chair, however, wants the government to charge more tax on the tobacco product to make it harder for consumers to afford in order to minimize its usage and its implication on the human health.

“The government should take global measures on curbing illicit trade very seriously because it’s something that has really taken root in Kenya” He added.

The organization also proposed that Tobacco companies should be paying victims that are associated with tobacco diseases.

“The companies are supposed to provide the public with proper information and not creating an illusion to the public that when one smoke becomes a sportsman,” He said

” We should ask our legislature to come up with laws that are going to protect consumers of tobacco products that if emerges one is suffering from a condition that is associated with smoking, then that tobacco company must compensate the victim,” He added.

Tobacco usage leads to many non-communicable diseases (NCDs) where it kills 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally.

Each year, 15 million people die from an NCD between the ages of 30 and 69 years; over 85% of these “premature” deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, or 17.9 million people annually, followed by cancers (9.0 million), respiratory diseases (3.9million), and diabetes (1.6 million).

These 4 groups of diseases account for over 80% of all premature NCD deaths.

Tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets all increase the risk of dying from an NCD.

Detection, screening, and treatment of NCDs, as well as palliative care, are key components of the response to NCD.

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