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Shisha use has encouraged drug peddling, says CS

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu at a past

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu on Monday said shisha consumption had encouraged the peddling of hard drugs.

Besides, shisha use has accelerated the spread of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack and blockage of limb arteries, asthma and bronchitis, he told a city court.

Dr Mailu added that shisha contained nicotine “which is addictive and its consumption has been used to peddle heroin and other hard drugs”.


In an affidavit supporting the shisha ban, the minister said there were known and actual dangers of shisha in all its forms.

He said charcoal used to heat shisha during consumption contributed to high levels of carbon monoxide and generation of carcinogen, “which are cancer-causing agents”.

Director of Medical Services Jackson Kioko said shisha consumption affected vital organs such as the brain, lungs and blood vessels.

He said sharing hooker and the mouthpiece provided an avenue for transmission of TB, and other infections.

Fifteen individuals moved to court seeking orders to lift the ban.

Mr Kennedy Amdany Langat, Mr Maurice Obunga, Mr Stephen Irungu, Ms Vivian Shikweya, Mr Henry Gitau and others said they were either importers, manufacturers, sellers, promoters or users of shisha.


The use of shisha is regulated under the 2007 Tobacco Act. Shisha is defined an oriental tobacco pipe with a flexible tube connected to a container where smoke is burnt then cooled by passing through water or other liquid.

The Act allows for use of tobacco products in secluded or specified places but does not ban shisha.

Shisha smoking was legal until December 28 when the minister issued a notice banning it.

However, the complainants argue that the ban is selective application of the law and unfair to shisha users.

Mr Langat said while imposing the ban, the minister failed to state which diseases could be acquired or transmitted through shisha consumption.

He added that Dr Mailu acted unreasonably because he did not give them a notice as that would make sellers and importers avoid restocking shisha.

The court will give a ruling on January 15.



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