Ban shisha smoking in Zambia-TOFAZA

Written by on July 6, 2019


HEALTH officials ignoring health dangers of shisha smoking in Zambia are worrisome, says Tobacco -Free Association of Zambia (TOFAZA) executive director Brenda Chitindi.

Ms Chitindi said there was enough global evidence and warnings over the risks of shisha smoking, and very clear that shisha products were being pushed very hard to children, youths and adolescents.

She observed that Shisha smoking, also called hookah, narghile, water pipe, or hubble bubble smoking was a way of smoking tobacco, normally mixed with fruit or molasses sugar, through a bowl and hose or tube.

“Shisha pipes use tobacco sweetened with fruit or molasses sugar, which makes the smoke more aromatic than cigarette smoke. Flavorings include apple, plum, coconut, mango, mint, strawberry and cola. Wood, coal, or charcoal is burned in the shisha pipe to heat the tobacco and create the smoke as the fruit syrup or sugar makes the tobacco damp,” she said.

Ms Chitindi said when smoked Shisha those sitting nearby were exposed to passive smoke which released toxins including carbon monoxide and heavy metals that reduced the body’s ability to carry oxygen around in the blood.

“Shisha tobacco contains cigarette tobacco, so like cigarettes it contains nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide and heavy metals, such as arsenic and lead,

“As a result, Shisha smokers are at risk of the same kinds of diseases as cigarette smokers, such as heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease and problems during pregnancy.

She said that the average shisha-smoking session lasted an hour and research had shown that in that time one could inhale the same amount of smoke as from more than 100 cigarettes.

Ms Chitindi observed that some people mistakenly thought that shisha smoking was not addictive because the water used in the pipe could absorb nicotine adding that Shisha smokers were still exposed to enough nicotine to cause an addiction.

She said that according to the Ministry of Health over 7,000 people died each year due to tobacco caused diseases including cancers, heart attacks, Lung diseases and many more Non-Communicable Diseases.

“And this is enough evidence for the law makers to support and ban all forms of tobacco use in Zambia. Tobacco use if not properly handled will kill many young people at an early age,

“We urge the Ministry of Health to pull up its socks and increase health promotions and awareness programmes in communities,” she said

 Ms Chitindi also said that in collaboration with line ministries, government should earnestly speed up the Tobacco and Nicotine Products Control Bill which had been dormant for almost 10 years.

She said once enacted the bill would save the population and especially the young generation who were the target for tobacco industry as their future customers.

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