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Crackdown on Shisha premises in Mombasa 

Dr. Kivunga speaking to the press in Mombasa on Friday December 1, 2017.
Photo by Hussein Abdullahi/KNA

Kenya Tobacco Control Board on Friday launched a crackdown on Shisha dens across the coastal city of Mombasa.

The board has raised concern that bar owners were promoting smoking of shisha among patrons in undesignated places.

The board says the mushrooming dens pose a health and safety risk to the patrons and the public in general.

Board member Dr. Somba Kivunga, who addressed the press during the raids expressed concern that Shisha cafes are growing in popularity in urban towns, oblivious of the associated health problems linked to Shisha pipe smoking.

He said the board will liaise with the county governments to crackdown on those flouting regulations as it has become more popular with young people.

Dr. Kivunga said the board believes 600,000 out of the two million smokers in the country are based in Mombasa and that Shisha was becoming popular.

He revealed that in Mombasa, they have discovered that Shisha pipes are flavoured with bhang or cocaine besides tobacco.

“The security services have also raised concern that proceeds from these unregulated Shisha dens are financing crime,” he said.

Mombasa County Director of Health Dr. Khadija Shikely, on her part noted that respiratory diseases associated with smoking with the water pipes are on the rise.

“One puff of Shisha is like smoking ten cigarettes at a go,” he said, adding that Shisha contains nicotine and a typical Shisha session exposes a person to 100 more nicotine than smoking a cigarette.

She said the biggest problem is that smoking starts in schools and that is why they are forming a multi sectoral team to crackdown on these illegal Shisha smoking dens.

By Hussein Abdullahi

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