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Using findings from a public opinion poll to build political support for tobacco control policy in Kenya
  1. William K Maina1,
  2. Rachael Kitonyo2,
  3. Ahmed E O Ogwell3
  1. 1Division of Noncommunicable Diseases, Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, Nairobi, Kenya
  2. 2Policy and Legislation, International Institutes for Legislative Affairs, Nairobi, Kenya
  3. 3Regional Advisor, Tobacco Control, WHO Regional Offices for Africa, Brazzaville, Congo
  1. Correspondence to Dr William K Maina, Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, P.O. Box 30016 – 00100, Nairobi, Kenya; drwilliammaina{at}


Objective To assess the level of public support for tobacco control policies and to discuss how these findings could be used to influence the legislative process in the passing of tobacco control law in the country.

Methods A cross-sectional study conducted in Kenya between March and May 2007 on a random sample of 2021 (991 men and 1030 women) respondents aged 18 years and above. Interviews were done using a structured questionnaire by a research consultancy firm with long-standing experience in public polling.

Results The majority of respondents supported tobacco control policies as proposed by WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. For example, 95% of the respondents supported smoking restrictions in all enclosed public places and workplaces, 94% supported visible health warnings on tobacco product packages, 83% supported a ban on advertisements of cigarettes and tobacco products and 69% supported a ban on sponsorship of events by tobacco companies. However, 60% perceived that there was very little commitment by legislators to tobacco control.

Conclusions There was overwhelming public support for tobacco control policies and a general view that government was not doing enough in implementing policies to protect the public from tobacco harm. This public opinion poll was used as an advocacy tool to generate support among legislators for national tobacco control law.

  • Tobacco control
  • policies
  • public opinion
  • public places
  • smoking
  • advocacy
  • advertising and promotion
  • public policy
  • priority/special populations
  • cessation

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  • Funding The study was funded by the International Institute for Legislative Affairs, a not-for-profit non-governmental organisation that supports initiatives for tobacco control policy development in Kenya.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Ministry of Health.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement This application requests support to collect public-use data from a survey of more than 2000 Kenyans seeking to hear about their opinions on the harm resulting from tobacco, their support for tobacco control policies and their assessment of governments concern for tobacco control. That information from this survey should be made available to researchers, policy analysts as long as the terms and conditions of the journal in which it is published are applied.