Kenyan parents fight sale of Lyft, BAT’s new nicotine product

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Parents want a new product introduced by a tobacco firm tested over concerns that it is being abused by children.

The product, introduced into the Kenyan market in July last year by tobacco firm British American Tobacco (BAT), has in the last few months been the subject of social media discussions because of its availability and addictive nature.

The nicotine pouch is meant to help people addicted to cigarettes to stop smoking, but those who have used it claim it gives users a “lift”.

Experts are now warning that Lyft is being abused by youth and children because it is cheap and available in kiosks and online shops.

It can be bought in chemists, supermarkets and from local shops for as little as Sh20.

Prof Wilfred Lessan, the chair of the Tobacco Control Board, says the product is a derivative of tobacco and is popular among the youth because it has been marketed as a “cool” product.

“There is a lot of misinformation going on about the product, with some people claiming it can help in weakening the Covid-19 virus.

This is misleading because it is harmful and a precursor to cancer. We are likely to see an upsurge of cancer of the tongue if this product is not regulated.

It has all the bad effects associated with tobacco but it has been made to look like a harmless product and is even sold in different flavours,” he said.

BAT announced early this year that it will build a Sh2.5 billion factory in Nairobi to produce the nicotine pouches for the African market.