In a study conducted in Nakuru, Kisumu, Mombasa and Nairobi Counties since March this year, 3 out of 10 youths use tobacco showing with a majority of them being university students.

While unleashing the preliminary findings Principal Secretary for Health Susan Mochache also pointed out that 11.6 percent of users are adult.

“This means that while 1 out of 10 adult Kenyans consume tobacco products, 3 out of 10 youth are consumers of tobacco products. Therefore, there is a  higher percentage of users of tobacco and nicotine products among the University Students compared to the rest of populace in Kenya,” said Mochache.

6 out of 10 respondents were introduced to the vice by their friends and peers due to peer pressure with them playing a significant role in promoting the abuse of the drug.

“The majority of the respondents (44.8%) were influenced by their friends and a further 17.5% got initiated by their peers, while 26% were influenced by other elements such as use of social media,”Mochache stated.

The findings by Tobacco Control Board which involved 1,600 respondents revealed that children as young as 7 years get introduced to tobacco usage which exacerbates chances of tobacco usage among the young generation.

“The mean age of starting the use of tobacco and nicotine products is 21, with some children getting introduced to the practice as early as seven years of age,” Mochache stated.

By Fred Azelwa.