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Rwanda Bans Shisha after WHO Warning
By Jane Nneoma

The government of Rwanda has with immediate effect banned the importation, advertising and smoking of Shisha within its territory over health concerns including its possible cause of cancer.

Commonly associated with Middle Eastern culture, it is made up of a water bowl, a flexible hose, and mouthpiece. Live coals are used to burn fruit flavoured tobacco. The tobacco smoke then passes through a water vessel and is inhaled deeply through the hose using a detachable mouthpiece.

It has gained popularity as a pop cultural phenomenon in most African countries with several trendy night clubs and pubs catering to the diverse needs of clients.

Rwanda’s government had given hint of the ban after the country’s health minister raised concerns earlier in the year.

In the notice released from the health ministry, the ban was based on the World Health Organisation (WHO) note warning about the potential health effects of smoking shisha including heart and lung disease.

Doctors say there is a "misconception" that shishas are not as harmful as cigarettes and the British Heart Foundation says an hour-long shisha session can be the equivalent of smoking more than 100 cigarettes.

"Traditionally shisha tobacco contains cigarette tobacco, so like cigarettes it contains nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide and heavy metals, such as arsenic and lead," it says.

"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."

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