Health CS Mutahi Kagwe has declared registration of nicotine pouches known as LYFT, illegal.
In a letter to the Pharmacy and Poisons Board CEO Fred Siyoi, CS Kagwe said the licensing of the pouches by the board in 2019 as a pharmaceutical drug was done contrary to the provisions of Section 25 of the Pharmacy and Poisons Act CAP 224.
“The nicotine pouches neither meet the descriptions of ‘Part I Poison’ nor “Part II poison’ as prescribed in the Act,” the letter reads in part.
“Further, the manner in which the product is sold to the public does not meet the provisions of Section 23 of CAP 244 as required.”
According to the Health CS the pouches are dispensed in automatic vending machines, contravening 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 the Pharmacy and Poisons Act,” the minister added.
British American Tobacco (BAT) advertises the product as an alternative for cigarettes which are highly addictive. They maintain that the product, placed between the lip and the gum, is tobacco-free.
Lobby groups such as Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance, National Taxpayers Association, the Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance of Kenya, the International Institute for Legislative Affairs and the Kenya Network of Cancer Organisations have called for the deregistration of the product as it is addictive.