Government prohibits sale and use of Lyft
George Kebaso @Morarak
The Government has banned the sale and use of Lyft even as its production locally was about to start.
Lyft is a nicotine-based tobacco product manufactured abroad by the British American Tobacco (BAT) Company.
In a letter to the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) dated September 18, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe declared the registration of nicotine pouches illegal.
Kagwe also called for the de-registration of the nicotine pouches barely six months after the company was given license to commence manufacturing the pouches.
This was despite protests from anti-tobacco advocates. The license was to expire at the end of the year.
Kagwe expressed concern that licensing of nicotine pouches, sold under the brand name “Lyft”, by PPB was done contrary to provisions of Section 25 of the Pharmacy and Poisons Act CAP 244.
“Kenya being Party to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC), the Ministry of Health is at the fore front in ensuring that the country meets its obligations under the treaty,” Kagwe said observing that the nicotine pouches neither meet the descriptions of ‘Part I poisons or ‘Part II poison’ as prescribed in the Act.
The CS further noted that the manner in which the product is sold to the public breaches various provisions of Section 23 of CAP 244 as required.
Similarly, the CS noted that the market surveillance conducted on the sale of the product revealed that it was being dispensed in automatic vending machines contrary to the law.
“In view of the above therefore, you are required to furnish the ministry with a comprehensive report on the criteria used and circumstances leading to the registration and licensing of the product under Pharmacy and Poisons Act,” the CS directed the Board in his September 18 correspondence.
BAT argues that the tax holiday is justified by the size of foreign direct investment expected from the local plant production and export market; and their belief that the pouches are less harmful than cigarettes.