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80% Kampala Hangouts Still Selling Shisha- Report

Moses Talipita from Uganda Health Consumers Association, says apart from the two police operations, the force hasnt been supportive of their efforts to get rid of the sale of Shisha.
A young woman smokes Shisha at an entertainment event

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The Health Ministry and Uganda Police are concerned about the continued sell of Shisha in Kampala and its surrounding districts despite the enactment and enforcement of the Tobacco Control Act 2015. Shisha is vaporized flavored tobacco delivered through a water pipe commonly referred to as a hookar. 

Shisha smoking has scientifically been proved more harmful than cigarettes. Section 16 (2) (2) of the Tobacco Control Act, which criminalizes Shisha provides that a person shall not import, manufacture, distribute, process, sell, offer for sell or bring into the Country a water pipe tobacco delivery system including the water pipe device or the water pipe tobacco products or other substance to be used in the water pipe delivery system or a smokeless or flavored tobacco product.

However, a recent report by the Health Ministry and Uganda Health Consumer's Association shows that 80% of the hangout and entertainment places in Kampala are still selling and advertising Shisha smoking. Dr. Hafswa Bukwate, the in charge Tobacco Control in Ministry of Health, says despite the sensitization exercise, which lasted more than a year, people have continued to deal in Shisha without any fear.

“People continue to Advertise, display and openly sell these tobacco products in total disregard of the law," Dr. Bukwate said. Police have carried out operations in Kampala and Mukono districts in the last two months leading to the arrest of 38 people.

The latest operation took place on Saturday night. Ten suspects have since appeared before the Makindye Chief Magistrate's Court on charges of selling Shisha Contrary to section 16(2) of the Tobacco Control Act and obstructing police from arresting suspects.

They pleaded guilty and were fined Shillings 200,000 each. Moses Talipita from Uganda Health Consumers Association, says apart from the two police operations, the force hasn't been supportive of their efforts to get rid of the sale of Shisha.

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Police Spokesperson, Fred Enanga says it is sad that bars and other hangouts have continued selling Shisha. He says police will work with Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA to ensure the sign posts advertising Shisha are pulled down.

"We are committed to enforcing the Tobacco Control Act. We will begin with putting those advertising billboards down and then raid these places," Enanga told URN.