Case Digest

Court Rules Against BAT In The Tobacco Control Act Law

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Kenya ruled that the Tobacco Control Act 2007 should be uphled, thereby defeating years of challenge from British American Tobacco (BAT).

The British American Tobacco (BAT) has bee challenging the Tobacco Control Act, 2007 unsuccessfully.

In March 2017, BAT Kenya Plc filed an
appeal to the Supreme Court of Kenya against the Court of Appeal’s judgment upholding the
legality of the Tobacco Control Regulations 2014.

Yesterday, the last nail on the coffin was driven after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Kenyans.

About the Tobacco Control Act, 2007

Tobacco Control Act, 2007 is the principal law governing tobacco control in Kenya. This comprehensive law defines keys terms and covers topics including, but not limited to, restrictions on public smoking; tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and packaging and labeling of tobacco products.

Other topics addressed by the law include: public education and information campaigns; sales to minors; and enforcement of the law. The Tobacco Control Act, 2007 grants powers, including implementation and enforcement authority, to individuals appointed under the Public Health Act. The Traffic Act provides a definition of “public service vehicle,” incorporated by the Tobacco Control Act with regards to smoke free provisions.

The Tobacco Control Regulations, 2014 require combined picture and text health warnings and further regulate other provisions under the Tobacco Control Act, 2007 including public smoking restrictions, tobacco product and tobacco industry disclosures, and an annual fee placed on tobacco product manufacturers and importers, which will contribute to a tobacco control fund. (via Tobacco Control Laws Organization)

BAT has been trying to defeat this law.

Mr. Joel Gitali, The Chairman, Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance, released a statement celebrating the courts decision.

‘We congratulate the Supreme Court for upholding the regulations, confirming they conform to the Kenyan Constitution, whose main goal is also to protect health and lives of Kenyans’, the statement said in part.

Beverley Spencer-Obatoyinbo, the Managing Director for BAT Kenya

Beverley Spencer-Obatoyinbo, the Managing Director for BAT Kenya also issued a statement which in part stated, “We respect the Court’s judgment but are obviously disappointed. Our appeal raised important issues as to the nature and extent of public participation in the legislative process. Today’s ruling will have very serious implications for the checks and balances on Government policy and legislative formulation that go far beyond the tobacco industry. We remain concerned that some parts of the Regulations are unnecessarily onerous and present a risk of arbitrary enforcement and harassment against consumers and the tens of thousands of retailers and distributors in our supply chain”

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