In Summary
  • Dr Somba Kivunga urged KRA to investigate entry points through which the risky illegal products are trafficked.

  • Besides tobacco, shisha pipes are also filled with flavours, aromatic stuff, marijuana, bhang and cocaine.

  • The board has mandated county governments to enforce laws against smoking shisha. 

  • According to the board, Central, Eastern, Mombasa and Nairobi lead with a high prevalence of smokers.

The Kenya Tobacco Control Board has asked the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to use its tracking system to investigate illegal tobacco and shisha imports.

A board member said shisha poses a health risk to Kenyan consumers, especially teenagers, whose smoking habit is on the rise.

Dr Somba Kivunga urged KRA to investigate entry points through which the risky illegal products are trafficked.

“Do they comply with the Tobacco Control Act?” Dr Kivunga asked.

“They are all illegal, they must have a licence, and we have to know the ingredients used in making the stuff. Mombasa is a gateway to many things.”

In an interview at the launch of an awareness drive in Mombasa, Dr Kivunga claimed traders import shisha without following the law, saying it is predominant in Arab countries.

REGULATIONS

“Anything not manufactured in Kenya must go through tobacco control regulations,” said Dr Kivunga.

“We must know where the cigarette was manufactured, its contents, and it should be registered. But illegal cigarettes are still imported.”

He said a puff of shisha is equal to smoking 100 cigarette sticks.

“Nicotine is the bait that brings the fish to the hook,” he said.

“Nicotine is what gives addiction.

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