Nairobi’s shisha users have been warned after Governor Johnson Sakaja reinstituted enforcement of the herb.
It has come to light that despite being banned in the country in 2017, Shisha (Hookah) items are still being sold and used at nightlife establishments. The county administrator saw this and has since approved a new round of enforcement of the ban.
The County Public Health Chief Officer Tom Michira Nyakaba instructed the Head of the Tobacco Control Unit to communicate with the pertinent departments to guarantee compliance as required by the Public Health Act, Cap 242, and the pertinent tobacco control laws in a letter dated January 13, 2023.
You are hereby instructed to take necessary enforcement action as anticipated under the Public Health Act, Cap 242 and the relevant tobacco control laws, the letter states. “In favor of the correspondence from Office of The Clerk, County Assembly Ref: NCCA/SC4ISC/CORR/2022/03 (copy attached) to the County Secretary, and onward transmission to this office.”
Nairobi MCAs urged Sakaja to close locations with designated smoking areas for shisha in October 2022.
The MCAs claimed that shisha was still being sold in various nightclubs under the direction of the County Assembly Health Committee. Shisha is a fruit-flavored tobacco product that is wrapped in foil and roasted over charcoal in a glass-bottomed water pipe. After passing through a chamber of water, the tobacco smoke is inhaled.
Cleopa Mailu, who was the health minister at the time, outlawed shisha use in December 2017 on the grounds that it promoted the sale of dangerous narcotics. Nairobi MCAs urged Sakaja to shut down locations with shisha smoking areas in October 2022.
Kenya joined Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda as the fourth nation in East Africa to outlaw the use of shisha. The amount of smoke smoked during an hour-long shisha session is reportedly similar to smoking between 100 and 200 cigarettes, according to the World Health Organization.
Anthony Muthemba, the chief of Nairobi’s tobacco control unit, reported in 2021 that there had been significant resistance to and interference with the execution of the ban. People congregate at lounges, cafes, and pubs to smoke shisha, however some prefer to do it at home. E-Shisha is another option; it is smoked at temperatures below 45 degrees. Lung and mouth cancers, heart problems, and other catastrophic disorders have all been related to shisha use.
It provides roughly the same amount of nicotine as cigarette smoking, which could result in a dependence on tobacco. Shisha smoke carries the same risks as passive smoking.