Treat shisha like cigarettes

In Summary

• Government has launched a crackdown on bars offering shisha to their clients

• A shisha pipe provides water-cooled tobacco smoke to users

Shisha pots are seen in use at a nightclub in Nairobi
Shisha pots are seen in use at a nightclub in Nairobi

"The Public Health (Control of Shisha Smoking) Rules, 2017 prohibit the import, manufacture, sale, use, advertising and promoting, and distribution of shisha," Defence CS Aden Duale stated earlier this month.

Duale is correct but government policy on shisha is still overkill.

Shisha is just tobacco, drawn through water in a pipe. Most shisha users do not inhale, they just pull smoke into their mouths.

Cigarettes are more dangerous because smokers inhale into their lungs yet they are not banned. Cigarettes are merely subject to grisly and graphic warnings on the packets and can only be consumed in designated smoking areas.

It is argued that shisha is often adulterated with bangi or other drugs but this is also true of cigarettes. It is also said that it is unhealthy to share a shisha pipe but in that case government should ban any food on a shared plate.

Shisha is dangerous and should not be encouraged. But there is a double standard if one tobacco product is banned and another is not. Let shisha be treated like cigarettes – let it only be permitted in designated smoking areas where there are large signs warning of the dangers of tobacco smoke. 

Quote of the day: "There is no less invention in aptly applying a thought found in a book, than in being the first author of the thought."

Robert Boyle
The Anglo-Irish chemist was born on January 25, 1627

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