BAT's Pressure Weakens Health Warnings on Velo Nicotine Pouches

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BAT's Pressure Weakens Health Warnings on Velo Nicotine Pouches
A recent investigation revealed that British American Tobacco (BAT) pressured the Kenyan government to weaken health warnings on Velo nicotine pouches.

According to a report by Kahawatungu on January 23rd, a recent investigation has revealed that British American Tobacco (BAT) has exerted pressure on the Kenyan government, leading to the dilution of health warnings associated with Velo nicotine pouches. It has been disclosed that BAT successfully lobbied the government through correspondence with the Ministry of Health, resulting in the relaxation of health warning standards required for the sale of Velo brand nicotine pouches in the country.


According to Kenya's current tobacco regulations, warning labels should occupy more than one-third of the packaging, including information on the health risks associated with the product. However, lobbying efforts by BAT prompted the government to reduce the size and content of the warnings, now simplified to include only the statement "This product contains nicotine and is addictive."


Investigation documents reveal that BAT has exerted significant influence over government decisions by using threats against the newly established factory in Nairobi. The company considers Kenya a crucial region for testing markets in low-income and middle-income countries, and has pledged to construct a new nicotine pouch factory in the area, with an investment exceeding $15 million.


Kenya's policies appear to be influenced by British American Tobacco (BAT), highlighting the tobacco industry's global influence in promoting "smokeless" nicotine products. Despite BAT's claim that its nicotine pouches are only intended for adult smokers or nicotine users, evidence suggests that these products are gaining popularity among young people in Kenya, raising concerns about the potential increase of nicotine addiction in the younger generation.


The emphasis placed by BAT on safety information on product labels, as well as its commitment to reducing tobacco harm, has raised doubts among the public regarding the balance between public health and economic interests. In response to the investigation, a spokesperson for BAT stated that product labels provide crucial safety information and stress that all nicotine pouches are solely intended for adults and should never be used by minors. The company also expressed its intention to actively participate in public debates on issues concerning the reduction of tobacco harm and others.


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