The Kenyan government through the ministry of health on Thursday banned shisha smoking in the country, saying anyone found using the drug will be punished.
In a gazette notice, health minister Cleopa Mailu announced that, “no person shall import, manufacture, sell, offer for sale, use, advertise promote or distribute shisha in Kenya.”
Kenya’s ban comes barely a month after Rwanda banned the substance, and now becomes the third East African country to impose the ban. Shisha smoking is also banned in Tanzania.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has in the past warned that the use of shisha posed grave health risks.
“Cigarette smokers typically take eight to 12 cigarettes with a 40 to 75 millimeter 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.
Experts warn that shisha smoking exposed one to health risks such as heart problems, cancer, tuberculosis and more.
Last week, a former Kenyan Member of Parliament John Mututho called on the government to follow in Rwanda’s footsteps and ban shisha smoking.
The former Naivasha MP – also a former chief of the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) – lamented the high number of youth in the country who are addicted to shisha smoking.