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Uganda bans smoking of shisha in public

Smoking of Shisha in public in Uganda will soon land offenders a six-month jail term or an equivalent of Sh 15,000 fine, or both punishment.

This follows a recent decision by Uganda’s Parliament to pass a bill that bars the consumption of this popular tobacco product in public.

The bill, referred to as the Tobacco Control Bill 2014, in part bans the importation, manufacture, distribution, possession and sale of water pipe tobacco, commonly referred to as Shisha.

“Science has shown that Shisha is more harmful that any other type of tobacco. This one should not be allowed at all of we have to protect our young people,” Medard Bitekyerezo, the health committee chairperson told Parliament.

Shisha is a glass bottomed water pipe in which fruit flavoured tobacco is covered with foil and roasted with charcoal.

FRUIT-FLAVOURED

The tobacco smoke passes through a water chamber and is inhaled deeply and slowly; the fruit-flavoured tobacco tastes smooth and smells sweet, enthusiasts say, making it an enjoyable experience.

The product is popular with the youth both in Kenya and Uganda. One “order” of the product, costs between Sh 500 and Sh 1,500 depending on the particular entertainment joint.

While debating the law, the legislators cited alarmed statistics from the World Health Organisation indicating which indicate that an average 37 Ugandans die daily owing to tobacco related illness such as lung cancer.

The ban on Shisha comes a year after Uganda’s Parliament passed another controversial law that prohibited the donning of mini skirts in public.