When Kenya's latest smoking laws including a ban of smoking in public places went into force on Tuesday the largest tobacco manufacturer went to court to challenge it. The case will be heard next week.
The law that was put in place last Tuesday takes a huge stand against cigarettes. Not only are sales now limited to those over the age of 18 but tobacco firms can not sponsor public events. The new laws also control the production, manufacture, sale, advertising and use of tobacco products within Kenya. Previous attempts to place the law into motion were stopped because the government hadn't given the tobacco industry enough compliance time causing them to destroy millions of dollars of their product.
Mastermind Tobacco Kenya Limited has asked the courts to nullify the Tobacco Control Act 2007 for being unconstitutional and not a legitimate use of the state police powers.
"The act creates penal sanctions and/or imposes penal consequences despite the fact that neither the manufacture and use of tobacco products is a prohibited activity," according to court documents seen by AFP.
"The act consequently seeks to criminalise an otherwise lawful activity and thereby violates the constitution," it said.
Smokers are also not so happy with the bans. When the capitol of Nairobi placed a ban on public smoking last year smokers argued that emissions from industry and vehicles along with open sewers posed a greater overall threat to the population than their cigarette smoke.
Those who violate the ban face between three years and six months in prison plus fines up to $46,000.
The government of Kenya earns about 76 million dollars a year from smokers. They also pay out about 275 million dollars a year on treating tobacco-related diseases.