ERA/FoEN charges FG to emulate other African nations on shisha ban
The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has urged the Federal government to emulate countries that have banned the smoking of water-pipe tobacco otherwise known as shisha, due to its addictiveness and deadly effect on the health of users.
ERA/FoEN made the demand following the ban of shisha by some African countries including Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.
Tanzania banned the product on the product since July 2016, while Rwanda started enforcing its ban with effect from December 15, 2017. Other countries that have also banned shisha and its bars are Pakistan, Jordan, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia.
A recent study by University of Nairobi found shisha had traces of opiates and concluded that smoking the product has effects similar to smoking tobacco.
Pipe sharing among users could also lead to the spread of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and hepatitis.
A statement by Head, Media & Campaigns of ERA/FoEN, Philip Jakpor, in Lagos, said the ban on shisha across the globe and particularly in Kenya and other African countries was a welcome development.
He noted that Nigeria should not wait for shisha bars to become recruitment centers for the under-aged before adopting a similar approach.
Reacting to the development, ERA/FoEN Deputy Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi, said: “We commend our sister African countries that have taken this bold and life-saving step in banning this toxic product.
“The Nigerian government must act in like manner to save Nigerian youths who believe that shisha is less harmful and hype.”
Oluwafemi explained that studies show that shisha patrons who smoke just one single session of shisha are in reality consuming the content of about 100 or more cigarettes.
He lamented that while patrons of the product are portrayed as hype, they stand the risk of increased heart diseases, cancer, lung disease and many other deadly ailments, adding that pregnant users also develop complications.
The ERA/FoEN boss said shisha’s content, like cigarettes, includes nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, arsenic, lead and other poisonous and cancer-causing chemicals and some contain heroin and cocaine.