, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 9 – The public needs to be educated on the health implication of shisha smoking which has become popular among young people in Kenya with many unaware of its dangers.
In an interview with Capital FM News, Chairman of the Kenya Tobacco Control Council Joel Gitali said the ban was long overdue as it is already in existence in Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda with other countries said to be on course to issue the ban.
Gitali has called on counties to join in minimizing the vice since health is devolved to protect the public from harmful effects and practices associated with shisha consumption.
“Whatever success we achieve can be done so if we all played a role especially at the county levels as well as establish with tailor made courses to address the vice,” said Gitali.
On Sunday, Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu defended his decision to ban shisha smoking, arguing that it is a gateway to consumption of hard drugs such as heroin.
In a gazette notice, Mailu banned the importation, manufacture, advertising and sale of shisha in the country.
In the legal notice dated December 28, the Health CS warned that anyone found contravening the control of shisha smoking rules will be “liable to a fine not exceeding Sh50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both.”
Shisha includes tobacco products that may be flavoured or non-flavoured that are consumed using a single or multi-stemmed smoking instrument that contains water or other liquid through which the smoke passes before reaching the smoker and whose syrup tobacco content includes molasses, honey vegetable, glycerol and fruit flavours including apple, grape, lemon and mint.
The World Health Organization recently revealed that smoking shisha poses grave health risks as the smoke of 100 or more cigarettes is inhaled in a single session.