The Government of Kenya through the Ministry of health has banned smoking of water-pipe tobacco, popularly known as shisha.
Kenya becomes the third country in Africa to ban shisha smoking after Tanzania and Rwanda banned importation and sale Shisha within their territory.
According to the Public notice issued by the government, all importation, manufacture and sale of shisha has been banned with immediate effect. Those found selling Shisha will be will be liable for punishment under section 163 of Public Health Act.
“No Person shall import, manufacture, sell, offer for sale, use advertise, promote or distribute Shisha in Kenya” reads part of the Statement.
This comes after Former Nacada chairman John Mututho challenged the government to emulate Rwanda and ban the use of shisha.
Mututho said the number of youth addicted to the drug across the country is on the rise, saying pipe sharing could lead to the spread of infectious diseases like tuberculosis and hepatitis.
Other countries with similar bans are Pakistan, Jordan, Singapore and Saudi Arabia.
On December 15, 2017, the ministry of Health in Rwanda banned Shisha for being dangerous for human consumption.
"The smoke that emerges from a water-pipe contains numerous toxicants known to cause lung cancer, heart diseases, just to name a few,” reads the communication from Health Minister Diane Gashumba.
World Health Organisation (WHO), in a recent advisory note to regulators, revealed that smoking shisha posed grave health risks.
In a single session, it said, shisha smokers can inhale smoke of 100 or more cigarettes.
“Cigarette smokers typically take eight to 12 cigarettes with a 40 to 75 millimetre puffs and inhaled 0.5 to 0.6 litres of smoke unlike shisha smoking sessions which typically last 20 to 80 minutes, during which the smoker may take 50 to 200 puffs which range from about 0.15 to 1 litre each,” it said.
Shisha smoking has become increasingly popular among young people in Africa, including in Kenya.