The government has declared the registration of nicotine pouches, popularly known as Lyft, illegal.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutai Kagwe, in a letter to Pharmacy and Poisons Board CEO Fred Siyoi, said the registration of the licence allowing the drugs to be sold in Kenya was illegal and ordered its immediate cancellation.

The CS said the licensing 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. 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, ” said Kagwe.

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Kagwe asked CEO Siyoi 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.

This comes after the National Parents Association in August petitioned for Lyft to be banned, as it was being abused by school-going children.

The nicotine pouch marketed by British American Tobacco BAT-Kenya as an alternative to addicted cigarette smokers has gained popularity since it was introduced into the market last year.

The pouches often contain food grade fillers, water, salt, flavorings and nicotine. The nicotine content among nicotine pouch brands differs per pouch.

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They are sold in an array of fruit flavours such as black cherry and citrus. Other flavours include peppermint and coffee.

Lyft becomes the second nicotine-based drug to be outlawed after a similar ban on shisha.

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Zablon Ondari

I am a journalist, who is passionate about writing articles. This interest carried me through the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication and now I am in the industry and this continues. I have some extensive experience in writing human interest stories, sports and politics. I am self-motivated but a team player. Find out more about me on Facebook, Instagram as Zablon Riro and on Twitter @RiroZablon.