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Counties

Shisha smoking continues in Mombasa and Kilifi despite ban

A young man smokes shisha at Bellavista Bar and Lounge in Kisii town on December 25, 2017. Photo | BENSON MOMANYI | NMG
A young man smokes shisha at a bar. File Photo | BENSON MOMANYI | NMG 

Young residents in parts of Mombasa and Kilifi Counties are still smoking shisha at upmarket establishments despite a government ban in December.

A spot check over the weekend revealed that some entertainment joints in Nyali, Bamburi and Mtwapa were still offering the tobacco substance to revellers.

The Nyali suburb is leading with a number of bars still selling the flavoured tobacco, with some of the places that the Nation witnessed its use being high end hotels in the suburb.

The illegal business is also going on in Tudor area and Bamburi Mwisho.

In Tudor at a known shisha-smoking zone, the gate to the establishment remains closed but consumption continues inside despite the ban.

“My friends have been at the place smoking just over the weekend and everything is normal. I doubt if the ban has been effected,” said a shisha consumer.

The establishment in question was among the first to advertise that the water-pipe tobacco would not be sold at its premises.

Arrests

Over the weekend, Mombasa police boss Johnston Ipara said officers conducted an operation that saw two people arrested.

“Seven pots of shisha were also recovered from the two suspects. They were nabbed during an operation in Nyali,” said Mr Ipara today.

The arrests were made a day after Coast regional coordinator, Nelson Marwa, raised questions as to why the business was still going on in the region.

“All the shisha clubs should be shut down. That is an order and orders are not issued twice. This should apply to all the six counties,” the tough talking administrator said.

The use of shisha remains illegal after Justice John Mativo last month declined to temporarily lift the ban imposed by Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu.

The country became the third in the region - after Tanzania and Rwanda - to impose a ban on shisha smoking in a span of less than two years.

Other countries with similar restrictions on water-pipe smoking include Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Singapore, Jordan and Pakistan.

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