Trade Secretary Accused of Promoting Tobacco, Undermining Anti-Smoking Efforts

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Trade Secretary Accused of Promoting Tobacco, Undermining Anti-Smoking Efforts
Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria has faced criticism for allegedly promoting tobacco consumption by meeting with representatives from British American Tobacco.

Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria has come under fire from tobacco control lobby groups for allegedly promoting tobacco consumption. Lobbyists, led by the Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance (KETCA), criticized Kuria for meeting with representatives of British American Tobacco (BAT). The lobby groups accused the government official of undermining efforts to control the use of tobacco products. They stated that the meeting violated regulations regarding interactions between public officers and the tobacco industry. Kuria had expressed his support for the tobacco industry on his Twitter account, following a meeting with BAT's managing director and his team. He announced that BAT was planning to open a factory in Kenya for the manufacturing of tobacco-free oral nicotine pouches. The tobacco industry contributes around 1% to the country's GDP, generating over Sh18 billion annually. However, anti-tobacco groups argue that this move will undermine their efforts to discourage tobacco consumption and transition farmers away from tobacco production. David Odhiambo, a representative from one of the lobby groups, expressed concern over the Trade CS's actions and its impact on the efforts made by the World Health Organization and the Kenyan government.

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