Rwanda, Kenya ban shisha smoking following Tanzania’s lead


Rwanda and Kenya have banned shisha smoking, becoming the second and third African countries respectively to put bans in place.

Tanzania was the first African country to implement a ban after President John Magufuli outlawed shisha smoking in July. Rwanda followed suit on December 15 and Kenya put its own ban in place on December 28.

Rwanda, Kenya ban Shisha

Both countries have implemented a total ban on the shisha smoking and all services related to it.

“No person shall import, manufacture, sell, offer for sale, use, advertise, promote, facilitate or encourage shisha smoking in Kenya,” Health Cabinet Secretary, Cleopa Mailu, said in a statement.

She says anyone guilty of breaking the new rules will be “liable to a fine not exceeding Sh50,000, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both.”

Rwanda’s has also banned the importation, advertising, sale and smoking of shisha across the country. Rwanda and Kenya join Tanzania as the first three African nations to ban shisha smoking. Other nations with similar bans in place are Pakistan, Jordan, Singapore and Saudi Arabia.

Health concerns

Shisha smoking is popular across many African nations and many assume the health implications are less serious than smoking cigarettes. However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warns that people can inhale the equivalent smoke of 100 cigarettes in a single shisha session.

“Cigarette smokers typically take eight to 12 cigarettes with a 40 to 75 millimetre puffs and inhaled 0.5 to 0.6 litres of smoke unlike shisha smoking sessions which typically last 20 to 80 minutes, during which the smoker may take 50 to 200 puffs which range from about 0.15 to 1 litre each.”

Featured image: Public domain

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.