By Victoria Kioko
Nairobi — Kenya is being urged to implement World Health Organization tobacco control measures to reduce the high number of deaths and other devastating effects in the country.
WHO's Tobacco Control Program Officer Joyce Nato says 600,000 Kenyans die annually from the usage or exposure to tobacco, hence the need to take remedial measures.
"The present and future generations must be urgently protected from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke. What WHO is doing first is the framework convention on tobacco control that was put in place and was adapted by all the member states and now the countries should domesticate this treaty," she said.
"I'm urging the government to implement the tobacco control measures in the WHO framework convention on tobacco control to reduce the prevalence of tobacco use and reduce the heavy burden of disease and death that is attributable to tobacco use or exposure."
WHO says the deaths resulting from the use of tobacco are greatly hampering development, not only in Kenya but across the world as more and more youths embrace its usage.
Tobacco Control Board Chairperson Peter Odhiambo says the tobacco industry accounts of 2.2 percent of the employment ratio; a percentage he says can be put into a more productive employment.
"This percentage... is it not something that we can replace with a more productive employment? Then why are we having unemployment; that is a gimmick! The people who get employment are those who are desperately looking for a job and they take it because they are unable to do something else," he said.
Through the WHO framework, governments are encouraged to establish strategic measures on tobacco control which include monitoring the trends of tobacco, offering help to those who want to quit, warn people on the effects of tobacco through advertising, enforce the law and raise taxes on tobacco to hinder the demand and supply of tobacco.
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