The Ministry of Health has banned the importation, manufacture, distribution, sale and use of shisha in Kenya.
In a special notice in the Kenya Gazzette dated Wednesday 28th December 2017, Cabinet Secretary for Health Cleopa Mailu said no person shall be allowed to promote, facilitate or encourage the smoking of shisha in Kenya.
The CS further says that any person who contravenes the directive will be penalized.
Shisha is substance which contains 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 liquids. Smoke passes through this liquid before reaching the smoker.
The syrup tobacco mainly contains molasses, honey, vegetable glycerol and fruit flavours including apple, grape, lemon guava and mint.
Shisha smoking – is also called hookah, waterpipe, or hubble bubble smoking. Sometimes wood, coal, or charcoal is burned in the shisha pipe to heat the tobacco and create the smoke because the fruit syrup or sugar makes the tobacco damp.
The tube ends in a mouthpiece from which the smoker inhales the smoke from the substances being burnt into their lungs.
When a person smokes shisha, those sitting nearby breathe in smoke which releases toxins including carbon monoxide and heavy metals –reducing the body’s ability to carry oxygen around in the blood.
Shisha risk factors
According to the British Heart Foundation, shisha tobacco contains cigarette tobacco, so like cigarettes it contains nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide and heavy metals, such as arsenic and lead. As a result, shisha smokers are at risk of the same kinds of diseases as cigarette smokers, such as heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease and problems during pregnancy.
People smoke shisha for much longer periods of time than they smoke a cigarette, and in one puff of shisha one inhales the same amount of smoke as from smoking a whole cigarette.
The average shisha-smoking session lasts an hour and research has shown that in this time you can inhale the same amount of smoke as from more than 100 cigarettes.
In reality, because only some of the nicotine is absorbed by the water, shisha smokers are still exposed to enough nicotine to cause an addiction.
Rwanda, Tanzania banned the smoking of shisha in the recent past.