Former National Agency for the Campaign against Drug Abuse (Kenya) chairman John Mututho has asked the government to follow after Rwanda which has banned smoking of Shisha.
He said a large number of youths who are addicted to the drug is worrying adding that Shisha can easily be adulterated with cannabis and heroin.
Two weeks ago, the government of Rwanda banned the use, advertisement and import of the product saying it is ‘addictive, dangerous and damaging’ to human lives.
According to Mututho, a study conducted by the University of Nairobi found that Shisha had traces of opiates, especially in the towns where samples were collected.
The report, he says had the effects similar to those of smoking tobacco while pipe sharing could lead to spread of infectious diseases like TB and Hepatitis.
“Little is known about the composition of Shisha consumed locally, especially the possibility of adulterated with prohibited substances.”
He added that some eight samples collected from various outlets revealed various forms of drugs that Kenyans youths were now using.
“While all the samples tested negative for marijuana and cocaine, they all tested positive for opiates,” Mututho told journalists in Naivasha on Sunday.
The former Naivasha MP said there was need for public education of the effects of the drug as some were engaging in their use without knowing the dangers.
“For the case of Shisha, its use is biased towards major towns like Nairobi, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu, Mombasa, Kilifi and Malindi.”
He said the Tobacco Control Act, 2007 provided for protection of the health of persons under the age of eighteen years by preventing their access to tobacco products.
“The Act also provides for strict adherence to the packaging requirements for all types of tobacco products,” the former lawmaker added.
Rwanda has banned the smoking of water-pipe tobacco popularly known as shisha starting Friday.
It becomes the second country in Africa to ban the substance after Tanzania imposed the ban in July last year.
Rwanda’s Health minister Diane Gashumba said in a statement the action is based on WHO’s concerns about the effects of Shisha tobacco on human health.
“Accordingly, the ministry of health informs general public that the use, advertisement and import of water-pipe tobacco smoking known as shisha tobacco is banned on Rwandan territory effective from December 15.
“Failure to comply with this notice, sanctions as provided by the law will be applied,” Gashumba said.
Shisha smoking has become increasingly popular among young people in Africa, including in Kenya.
The Express News