BAT Lobbies to Resume sale of Nicotine Pouches

BAT Kenya has beefed up talks with the government to address a regulatory dispute that has halted the sale of the nicotine pouches which traded locally under the Lyft brand according to its parent company BAT Plc.

“In Kenya, we continue to engage with the relevant authorities on the regulatory and fiscal framework to support a commercially sustainable reentry into the modern oral category. We continue to believe that modern oral represents an exciting opportunity to offer affordable new category alternatives to adult nicotine consumers in emerging markets given the absence of an electronic device and a pre-existing ritual of oral product consumption in a number of markets.” BAT Plc in its latest annual report

In 2020 Health Cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe accused the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of flouting tobacco control laws when it licensed the sale of the nicotine pouches and demanded the regulator provide the ministry with a “comprehensive report on the criteria used and circumstances leading to the registration and licensing of the product.”

The move would place on the nicotine pouches under similar marketing restrictions that are imposed on cigarettes and other tobacco products by the Tobacco Control Act, which include promotions and advertising, usage in public areas, and use by minors.

The health ministry subsequently declared them illegal.

Since then, BAT has been filing petitions with the government citing that pouches are a safer alternative to cigarettes which have been linked to an increased risk of contracting life-threatening diseases such as cancer as well lung and heart diseases.

The firm has in recent years been diversifying from cigarettes in response to flagging sales across the world.

As part of the global strategy, Kenya was chosen to host a plant for the production of non-combustible nicotine pouches targeting the African market at an estimated cost of Sh2.5 billion.

The new Nairobi-based nicotine focused factory, which BAT Kenya says is the first of its kind in Africa, was part of the group’s plan to follow the changing habits of tobacco consumers.

Read also; BAT Kenya Eyes New Export Markets.

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