Shisha is the flavoured tobacco smoked using hookah water pipes. A hookah consists of a base, pipe, bowl and hose or a mouthpiece.
In a gazette notice seen by APA, no person shall be allowed to encourage facilitate, promote, sell, offer or distribute shisha in Kenya.
Any offender will be “liable to a fine not exceeding 50,000 shillings ($500) or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months,” read in part the notice signed by Health Cabinet Secretary Dr. Cleopa Mailu.
Kenya has followed in the footsteps of Rwanda, which recently banned the smoking of Shisha, and Tanzania, which imposed a similar ban last year.
Shisha smoking can be as damaging, addictive, and dangerous as cigarettes, because the tobacco is no less toxic in a water pipe.
According to health experts, a smoker might breathe in much more poisonous fumes during an hour-long session than a typical cigarette smoker inhales in a few days. Tobacco causes lung cancer, cervical cancer and throat cancer.
Over the years, Shisha smoking had gained popularity in Nairobi nightclubs, especially among young women. Nairobi remains the highest consumer of the product usually sold in clubs.
On December 1, the Tobacco Control Board (TCB) also expressed fear that proceeds from the substance sale could be financing criminal gangs.