Board says rise in shisha smoking by women worrying

Tuesday November 21 2017

A woman smoking shisha

A woman smokes shisha at a club in Nairobi. A report by the Tobacco Control Board shows that there is an increase in the smoking of shisha among young women which is posing a great danger to the next generation. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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There is an increase in the smoking of shisha among young women which is posing a great danger to the next generation, a report has said.

Nairobi remains the highest consumer of the product usually sold in clubs.

This is according to a report by the Tobacco Control Board released in Nakuru Tuesday.

Ms Isabella Karanja, a member of the board, said a big population of the young people in urban areas are addicts of shisha which is a combination of many drugs.

“Inside the (shisha) pot there is a mixture of so many drugs among them heroin, cocaine and bhang and therefore one becomes an addict of numerous drugs,” said Ms Karanja.


She noted that the effects have been felt mostly by women of childbearing age who develop complications during pregnancy.

It also leads to an increase in cases of still births.

“Men have also been affected in that cases have been reported of men with a low sperm count,” she said.

She noted that one gulp of shisha is equivalent to smoking 10 cigarettes and this, therefore, shortens the lifespan of the smokers more quickly.


Ms Karanja noted that club owners will soon face the law for infringing on the rights of citizens by not setting up smoking zones away from non-smokers.

According to Ms Karanja, cigarettes sold in Africa contain 25 times more nicotine compared to those sold in the western world.

“High use of tobacco is derailing our country’s development because it is affecting our youth. Dealing with the effects of the substance is very costly to the Ministry of Health,” Ms Karanja said.

At the same time Health Services Chief Officer Samuel Mwaura put bar owners on notice for promoting passive smoking.

“They have been allowing people to smoke within the premises and lying to people that the substance is not harmful. The smokers equally bear the same responsibility and they will face the law,” said Dr Mwaura.


He noted that there is a tradition among kiosk and shop owners who have been selling single sticks of cigarettes which is against the law, adding that all cigarettes should be sold in packs.

They spoke during the launch of sensitisation programme on the harmful use of tobacco.

The board members said Nakuru was chosen as it has been ranked as the leading county in implementation of tobacco control.

Members of the board further stated that those found selling sweets and biscuits spiked with drugs to children will face the law.

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