Seventeen days after the federal government had banned the sale and use of shisha (waterpipe smoking), consumers of this flavoured smoke still patronise pubs, restaurants and hotels were the banned substance is served.

This sort of smoke seen as fun to some of its consumers has been banned in countries such as Pakistan, Jordan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and now Malawi.

At a famous Chinese restaurant in Sulurere, Lagos, a bartender who pleaded anonymity said, “I am not aware of this ban ma. People still smoke Shisha here. Even as at yesterday a number of people smoked quietly a lot of Shisha here.”

On June 4th, 2018, the Federal Government banned the use of flavoured tobacco, especially Shisha, in public places, and directed security agencies to arrest anyone found inhaling the substance.

“Let me stress that the ban on tobacco products with characterising flavours is still in place and the ban includes shisha because it has flavour. I, therefore, urge the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and the law enforcement agencies to intensify arrest of defaulters.” Isaac Adewole, minister of health said during a press conference in Abuja to mark the 2018 world No-Tobacco Day.

Babatunde Irukera, the Director-General of the CPC, said that a committee had been set up to look into the issue of Shisha and other matters and further recommendations would be made soon.

Shisha (waterpipe smoking) industry is fast gaining traction in Nigeria as more consumers find it cool and trendy. There are no hard data on this. Shisha is typically smoked in social settings, very frequently smoked by urban youth, young professionals, and university and college students.

Shisha, also called hookah, narghile, or hubble-bubble smoking, is becoming an increasingly popular method of tobacco use worldwide. It originated in the Eastern Mediterranean region and is now gaining popularity in many western countries including Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States of America, and also in Southeast Asia.

Shisha smoking is a growing threat to public health. The reason is that there is a common misconception that smoking shisha is relatively less hazardous than smoking tobacco cigarettes, and most outlets offering shisha remain largely unregulated.

A review of the health effects of smoking shisha shows that shisha smoking leads to significant exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile aldehydes, carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, nicotine, furans and nanoparticles.

Drawing tobacco smoke with the help of a hookah pipe only alters the temperature of the smoke and the chemical structure almost remains the same.

A consumer employing a hookah may be exposed to noxious chemicals that are not actually cleaned and sorted out by the water.

In addition, there is a high probability of infectious disease taking place when hookahs are shared with each other. Diseases like oral cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer, cancer of the oesophagus, respiratory diseases, heart disease, and fertility problems can take place with hookah smoking.


Culled from: BusinessDayOnline