Vaping In Kenya
The vaping landscape in Kenya has evolved since the ban on shisha in 2017. While it was a devastating phenomenon to those who were already hooked on nicotine, the introduction of e-cigarettes brought a newer and better way of consuming nicotine.
According to a feature by Business Daily Africa, most nicotine enthusiasts who used shisha found a way out with vaporizers. It was a relief to finally get a more advanced, stylish, and unique way of getting nicotine hits and having fun with cloud chasing.
Vaping in Kenya has caused a stir, especially among the youth, which has attracted different sentiments regarding e-cigarettes. Regulatory bodies, health-conscious individuals and organizations, and citizens have mixed feelings regarding vaping.
Stay put as we discuss further how the use of vaporizers has evolved in Kenya, available e-cigarette regulations, vaping health concerns, and how easy it is to buy vapes online.
Vape Availability and Popularity
Vaping hasn’t been around for a long time. It is a growing concept popular among youths in Kenya. For half-decade, vaping has evolved from shisha to more fashionable electronic cigarettes.
Worldwide, the history of vaping has seen significant development, from simple vaping devices that mimicked traditional cigarettes to more sophisticated gadgets with advanced features. The distribution from manufacturers to users has improved in the past decade, thanks to globalization and the internet. Now, Kenyan importers can easily buy vapes, and ship them in less than a fortnight, then sell them to the local market.
The popularity of vapes can be attributed to the ongoing search for safer smoking alternatives. Although the health effects of vaping are an ongoing debate, several studies have considered vaping safer than smoking tobacco. One agreed-upon fact is that there is a knowledge gap regarding how the effects of vaping compare to smoking cigarettes.
Young people are even more attracted to the stylish and customizable attributes of vaping, including the choice of flavors, nicotine strength, and vapor intensity. Cloud chasers have found a new hobby in vaping, showing off their vaping skills on social media.
One of the reasons vaping has found a footing in the Kenyan market, especially among the youth, is social media. One thing we know is that vaping is not boring. It is interesting, fashionable, and does not have the same vibe as smoking traditional cigarettes. Most would term it “cool”. You will find many vapers online flaunting their vaping skills and their stylish devices.
Vapes are easily accessible. Without a clear policy regulating e-cigarettes, you can easily buy vapes at various vape stores in Kenya. Even better, you can order e-cigs online at online vape shops like Vape Lab and have them delivered to your doorstep.
There are several vape types available, most sold at affordable prices. A simple vape will cost as low as KES 600, while advanced vaping devices can go as high as KES 15000. It all depends on your vaping requirements. This explains why vaping has become so popular in Kenya.
Vaping Regulations in Kenya
Vaping in Kenya is regulated by the Tobacco Control Act of 2007. While this act focuses primarily on tobacco products, it also includes nicotine-based products and vapes.
The sale of vapes in Kenya is legal, but selling to persons under 18 years is prohibited. Apart from the age limit, no other clear regulations at the moment guide the sale and use of vaping products.
Importation and sales
No vape manufacturers in Kenya. All vaping products available in the local market are imported. Any importation is subject to taxation by KRA and policy by other regulatory institutions.
Reputable manufacturers of vaping products have established a seamless trading process with local importers ensuring that their products reach the enthusiastic Kenyan market. You get top-quality e-cigarettes and vape liquids from renowned manufacturers right to your door.
Upon reaching the local supplies, the distribution takes many forms, including brick-and-mortar models and e-commerce. You can buy e-cigarettes from liquor shops or stores specializing in vape sales.
The most convenient distribution model in Kenya is via online vape shops. Successful vape shops like Vape Lab Nairobi list their imported products online, where you can order and get home delivery.
The law requires every vape seller to follow all regulations, including ensuring that all vaping products are sold only to persons of 18 years and above. In addition, the government of Kenya proposed a new taxation regime on vaping products. Earlier, vape liquids were charged per unit, but the new proposal requires charging KES 70 per milliliter.
The change in taxation aims to increase the cost of vaping production to make them more expensive and hence not easily accessible. This taxation is to regulate the high rate of nicotine addiction in Kenya.
E-cigarette promotion and public places
There is no law in Kenya addressing the advertising and promotion of vapes in Kenya. There is also no directive or regulation regarding vaping in public places. However, users are advised to have some decency and avoid vaping in inappropriate places.
There are online shops in Kenya, like Vape Lab, allowing you to browse through the various vape products in stock at the physical vape shop. There is no law prohibiting this. Therefore, vape retailers can list their products online and allow customers to buy them. However, promoting using paid ads is prohibited.
Note that the vaping regulations landscape in Kenya can change at any time. Right now, little is regulated regarding the sale and consumption of e-cigarettes. We have seen the evolution of regulations, where different products like shisha were banned. Nicotine pouches, popularly known as Lyft, were also banned. There is no telling what the future holds for vaping devices in the country.
While vaping in Kenya is a highly volatile subject with various groups having different opinions, it is important to note that the world is changing, and the opinions can change too. Some highly restricted vices in the past are more acceptable now. Vaping has also been accepted in Kenya for more than half a decade now, and there are no major restrictions until now.
Compared to cigarettes, e-cigarettes have a better appeal in appearance and usage. The different flavors in vape juice also give out sweet scents compared to the tobacco smell. The discoloration of teeth caused by tar in tobacco is non-existent.
Vaping Health Concerns
The data available on the health effects of vaping is inconclusive. Several studies have been conducted and made inferences that place vaping as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. However, scientists admit that there is a knowledge gap regarding vaping.
Most vaping health concerns revolve around addiction, predisposition to cancer and other lung diseases, and the effects of chemicals used in vapes, including flavoring agents and diluents (Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerin (VG)).
Studies show that vaping increases the virulence of bacteria in the lungs that cause lung diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Some also suggest that vaping predisposes users to cancer.
Studies show that vaping has fewer health risks than smoking. Tobacco has over 7000 chemicals, while vaping has just a few. One study revealed that vaping reduces the health risks of smoking by 95%. However, since vaping is still a new phenomenon, it is not safe to conclude that vaping is without risks. There could be a whole spectrum of health hazards that haven’t been discovered yet.
Diluents like VG and PG, are already used in the food industry. WHO and FDA categorize them as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) products. Hence, their usage has little to no harmful health effects. The only reported effect of PG is causing a sore throat when used in high concentration. This is corrected by using it together with VG, which is more gentle to your throat.
Vaping is still a new concept in Kenya and the world. The use and safety are still evolving concepts whose future remains unknown. As vaping popularity and demand for vaping products continues to increase, manufacturers are more competitive than ever, each striving to produce a winning technology that facilitates a satisfying vaping experience.
The important notes are:
- Regulations controlling the sale, promotion, and use of vaping products in Kenya are still inconclusive. Little has been featured in the Tobacco Control Act of 2007.
- There is a knowledge gap regarding the health effects of vaping. Existing studies suggest that vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes.
- The distribution of vaping products in the Kenyan market is highly advanced. Vapers can buy e-cigarettes and vape liquids online and have them delivered to their doorstep.
- Vaping products should not be sold to persons under 18 years. Breaking this law attracts a heavy penalty, including a fine of five hundred thousand Kenyan Shillings or three years imprisonment, or both.
Vape Lab online E-cigarette shop is committed to upholding laws and regulations on vaping products. We do not sell to persons under 18 years. All nicotine-based products have a disclaimer that informs users that nicotine is an addictive chemical. Also, all our products are sourced from reputable and authorized manufacturers and suppliers.