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The Nairobi county government yesterday was urged to close the six smoking zones downtown.

The Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance said the zones are illegal because they are run with public money and are in public places.

National coordinator of the civil society group Thomas Lindi, said the zones violate the Tobacco Control Act.

“The Nairobi smoking zones have Nairobi County logos. This means that they are responsible for constructing them,” Lindi said.

Lindi told the Star the smoking sheds should be run by private developers, not the county.

The Act also states that no person should smoke in any public place. Anyone smoking in a prohibited area can be fined Sh50,000, jailed for not more than six months or both.

Lindi said private developers should set up and manage smoking zones far from the city centre to protect non-smokers.

Lindi also said the Ministry of Health should prohibit tobacco sales within 300 meters of schools.

“When they are near learning institutions, they are basically targeting students,” he said.

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There two smoking zones in Uhuru park, one at GPO, Jevanjee Gardens, Bus Station and Latema Road.

Lindi said all bar and restaurant owners should set aside areas for smokers, places meeting international standards and limiting second-hand smoke.

“If people wish to smoke there, they should be guided to the smoking zone and they should be licensed,” he said.

“If you run a business where smokers contribute heavily to revenue, then take it upon yourself to set up a smoking area.”

County governments should not use public funds to set up smoking areas, Ketca chairman Joel Gitali said last year.

The World Health Organization said Kenyans smoked eight billion cigarettes in 2015, up from 6.4 billion in 2013 indicating rising demand.

The National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) study last years shows that about 2.2 million Kenyans use tobacco products, out of which two-thirds smoke cigarettes.

The city requires cigarette packs to display images of the damage smoking causes.

The tobacco industry has challenged the regulation in the Supreme Court. A ruling is awaited.

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