The Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) says that by raising the minimum legal age to access tobacco and tobacco flavoured products from 18 to 21, tobacco companies will no longer be able to target and take advantage of teenagers.
NGO Executive Chairman Mwangi Macharia stated that although at 18 years a person is perceived to be an adult and has the intellectual skills to make informed choices regarding smoking, research has shown that there may be a lack in social and emotional maturity to resist peer pressure and fully comprehend the risks behind smoking, reports KBC Channel. He went on to say that by increasing the minimum legal age for buying tobacco the smoking prevalence rates would be lowers and would ultimately save millions of dollars in health care costs.
“Increasing the minimum legal age of access to tobacco and tobacco flavoured products to 21 years will lower the possibility that a primary or secondary school student will be in a position to legally purchase tobacco and tobacco flavoured products for other learners and underage peers,” says Macharia.
According to KBC Channel, the petition to the Senate and the National Assembly states “less than 50 per cent of the adult smokers attain daily smoking habits before 18 years while approximately 80 per cent become daily smokers before turning 21 years hence the need to raise the access age to 21 years.”