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Shisha smoking in Kenya could soon be outlawed

Shisha smokers in Kenya will soon have to look for other ways of indulging themselves following the ban of importation, manufacture, advertising and sale of the substance in the country.

In a gazette notice on Wednesday, Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu said any person who will contravene any provisions of these rules will be liable to penalty contemplated in section 163 of the Public Health Act.

“No person shall import, manufacture, sell, offer for sale, use, advertise, promote, facilitate or encourage shisha smoking in Kenya,” the gazette notice reads in part.

With this new development, Kenya could become the third country in Africa – after Tanzania and Rwanda – to ban shisha smoking.

Other countries which have banned shisha are Pakistan, Jordan, Singapore and Saudi Arabia.

HEALTH RISKS

Last week, former NACADA chairman John Mututho urged the government to follow after Tanzania and Rwanda in banning smoking of Shisha.

He said a large number of youths who are addicted to the drug is worrying adding that shisha can easily be adulterated with cannabis and heroin.

A study by the University of Nairobi has revealed that shisha smoking has effects similar to cigarette smoking and that pipe-sharing could lead to the spread of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and hepatitis.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) also recently revealed that smoking shisha poses grave health risks as the smoke of 100 or more cigarettes is inhaled in a single session.

The highly toxic tobacco substance, which is smoked using a hookah (water pipe), has gained popularity at entertainment spots in Kenya over the last year. The substance is known to cause problems during pregnancy.