2021 Tobacco Industry Interference Index (Kenya)

Tobacco Industry’s Grip Slowing Down Implementation Of Public Health Policies In Kenya

Tobacco use is now the top most preventable cause of death and one of the four risk factors raising the burden of Non communicable diseases (NCDs) in Kenya.

It's the time to slam brakes on tobacco industry interference in Kenya

The 2021 Kenya Tobacco Industry Interference Index is part of the Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index. The Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index (Global Tobacco Index) is a review of how governments are responding to influences from the tobacco industry and protecting their public health policies from commercial interests

Kenya's health minister questions licensing of BAT's LYFT nicotine pouches

BAT shakes off Covid-19 fallout as profit up 42pc to Sh5.52 billion

BAT eyes tax holiday for nicotine pouches

This is the third report for Kenya, the first report was released in 2019. In 2019, Kenya scored 33, while in 2020 Kenya scored 40. This year 2021, Kenya has scored 39. It should be noted that the lower the score, the over-all lower level of tobacco industry interference.

Kenya's health minister has accused the country’s Pharmacy and Poisons Board of flouting tobacco control laws when it licensed the sale of LYFT nicotine pouches by British American Tobacco Kenya. Reuters, October 2020

Among the positive strides noted during the period under review, on 4 May 2020, the government of Kenya ratified the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.

Granting tax holiday for BAT nicotine pouch plant a bad idea

Report Summary


According to the Kenya Tobacco Control Regulations (TCR) 2014, the Government does not accept, support or endorse any offer for assistance by or in collaboration with the tobacco industry in setting or implementing public health policies in relation to tobacco control. There was no evidence of incidence against this regulation during the period under review.


Contrary to the provisions of Tobacco Control Regulations 2014 which prohibits public officials from endorsing, supporting and/or forming partnerships with and/or participating in activities of the tobacco industry described as corporate social responsibility, British American Tobacco (Kenya) Ltd made a donation of Kshs.10.6m (US$100,000) to the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, a fund that was established by the President of Kenya H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta.


The Government included tobacco products in the list of essential products under Foods and Beverages during the COVID-19 pandemic. The meant that tobacco and tobacco products could be transported freely and easily accessed even with several COVI-19 containment measures.

BAT (Kenya) Ltd launched new smokeless oral tobacco product by the name LYFT, a nicotine pouch placed under the lip. Government went ahead and registered the product under the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) thereby shielding it from being regulated as a tobacco product in Kenya. This gave BAT (Kenya) Ltd room to market and sell their nicotine pouches dispensed in automatic vending machines during the COVID-19 pandemic without stringent regulations and to make huge profits.


Whereas the Tobacco Control Regulations 2014 Section 22. (1) states that “Any interactions between public authorities or public officers and the tobacco industry shall be limited to the extent strictly necessary for effective tobacco control and enforcement of relevant laws.” , a team from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) led by the Nairobi County Director of Environment joined BAT (Kenya) Ltd at their headquarters in Nairobi in BAT’s activities to mark the World Environment Day 2020. BAT’s publicity press release also refers to its collaboration with the county government of Migori on a project to plant 200,000 trees 5.


Tobacco Control Regulations (TCR) 2014 sets out the procedure for all interaction between the government officials and the tobacco industry. However, despite the existence of this procedure, information on meetings between public officials and tobacco industry is not readily accessible owing to bureaucracy. Information on the interactions are mostly heard through the media with no details on compliance to the requirements of TCR 2014.


One retired senior government official and a number of current government officials also double up as members of the BAT (Kenya) Ltd Board of Directors.


Tobacco Control Regulations (TCR) 2014 requires any public officer participating in any interaction with tobacco industry to prepare a formal record of the interaction and submit to the relevant public authorities including the Cabinet Secretary. However, there is no implementing procedure in place to disclose all records of interactions as envisaged. Furthermore, the government is yet to formulate a code of conduct for public officials, prescribing the standards with which they should comply in their dealings with the tobacco industry as required by TCR 2014,

New Report titled "Buying Influence and Advantage in Africa: An Analysis of British American Tobacco's Questionable Payments" just released!

Corruption and bribery fast becoming modus operandi of tobacco industry in Kenya