Despite ban, shisha smoking persists in Kano | Dailytrust

Despite ban, shisha smoking persists in Kano

Aside the flavours on display, authorities and smokers said intoxicants like Indian Hemp are often added
Aside the flavours on display, authorities and smokers said intoxicants like Indian Hemp are often added

Months after the Kano State Government announced a ban on shisha smoking, as well as smoking in public places in the state, shops offering the recreational smoking service have remained open, even as those patronising them have continued unabated, Daily Trust Saturday reports.

 

Announcing the ban in December last year, the state government had hinged its reason on the incessant drug abuse cases in the state.

The managing director, Kano State Tourism Management Board, Yusuf Ibrahim Lajawa, who announced the ban, had said the action became necessary as most people smoking the substance were found to be going out of their senses. 

Shisha, according to a British Heart Foundation (BHF) publication known as Heart Health Magazine, “is a specially prepared tobacco heated to produce smoke, which bubbles through a bowl of water into a long hose-like pipe to be breathed in. Shisha pipes have mouthpieces fitted to inhale the smoke.” 

Lajawa stated, “After an investigation by our medical team, it was found that shisha is used to trigger the menace of drug abuse.

“Therefore, it became necessary to ban taking or smoking substances in the state. The edict was established in 1994 and later amended and signed by the state governor in November 2021. The amended law prohibits smoking in public places and gatherings in the state.

“Plans are underway to constitute a taskforce that will enforce the penalty side of the law – jail term and fine, or even sealing and closing down shisha joints in the state.” 

He added that the decision was a step to further make the state free from social vices, which could lead to crimes and pose threat to proper upbringing. 

“The law will be applied to event centres, as well as rooms for children under the age of 18 in hotels. The law does not stop there, as it also includes all the shisha dealers and retailers in the state. 

“Our agency has already taken the initiative to guide business owners to ensure that they do not violate this law, which will take effect soon,” he added.

While government’s pronouncement had generated some controversies at the time, some lawyers and criminologists insisted that the state government was right to carry out actions and sanctions on activities it considered harmful to the general public.

But months after the pronouncement, not much has been done by the government to ensure effective implementation of the policy, apart from the setting up of a taskforce saddled with the responsibility of regulating the activities of hotels and event centres in the state.

Daily Trust Saturday gathered that before the setting up of the taskforce, the agency tasked with enforcing the sanctions was the religious police, popularly known as Hisbah. 

Shisha smoking and selling spots remain open for business everywhere in the state despite the ban

 

We’re not aware of any ban – Smokers

Our correspondents observed that many eateries and restaurants still have shisha stands as part of their attractions, even as shops that are mainly for smoking remain open for business.

Customers of these shisha spots said that beyond what was reported in the news, they did not see anything to suggest that smoking the substance had been banned in Kano as they still smoke every day.

Bashir Nuhu, who smokes regularly despite the ban said he usually did that for fun and nothing else.

“I don’t add any intoxicating substance inside. It is just the normal flavour, and it does not do anything harmful to me. It is just for fun and to while away time,” he said.

But Yusuf Musa said the ‘little things’ they add sometimes is just to add to the flavour so that they can enjoy it more.

“Yes, we add weed or drugs, but it doesn’t have much effect on us because it is just to spice it up.

“If you have a big brain you won’t even feel it. And these things are medicines that cure one ailment or another. There’s nothing wrong with it,” he said.

While others see nothing wrong in it, Ayuba Gwaska said he was looking for an opportunity to get rid of it as he is currently obsessed with adding intoxicating substances, and it is affecting him negatively.

“I am always praying to God to avail me the opportunity to stop taking it at all. I am used to it but finding it difficult because it is taking me to another fold of life that is not right,” he said.

Shisha can be more dangerous than cigarette – Studies, doctor

Studies on the effect of shisha have shown that it may be more dangerous than cigarette as it could contain up to 115 times more carbon monoxide known to increase the risk of cancer, heart and lung diseases, a health official said.

According to publications by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the effects of shisha can be transferred from parents to children; and it is believed that parents who smoke may give birth to children with a predisposition to respiratory diseases.

Supporting the studies above, a practising physician in the Federal Medical Centre, Birnin Kudu in Jigawa State, Dr Khalifa Usman Abdullahi, told Daily Trust Saturday that shisha smoking is very dangerous.

“Every day, shisha smoking is increasing geometrically. People thought it was less harmful than cigarette, but on a serious note, smoking shisha for just an hour is even more harmful than smoking 100 sticks of cigarette a day. Both shisha and cigarette contain harmful chemicals and substances that are very injurious to our health. There are substances that make them more addictive.

“In shisha, one consumes a lot of smoke via the pipeline that follows as vapour via the water contained in the container, and as such, goes directly via the airways and branching in the mouth, throat, lung and the stomach,” he said.

He added that as such, it increases the rate of having cancers – mouth cancer, throat cancer, gastric cancer, which is a cancer of the stomach. The most common is lung cancer, which earliest symptom is cough.

There are other diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary lung disease (COPD), which individuals who have the habit of these practices develop, he added.

In COPD, the airways would be narrowed and the individual would not breathe properly.

Dr Abdullahi said the effects of smoking shisha would also increase and make someone who has some injuries on his body not to heal very well because the substances contained in it affect some ingredients that facilitate wound healing. As such, the process of wound healing for individuals engaged in shisha smoking will take a longer time than those who do not smoke.

It also increases the risk of developing hypertension in an individual who smokes a cigarette, he added.

“In a nutshell, I would like to advise those individuals who smoke shisha and other forms of cigarette to avoid it as they have injurious effects on their lives,” he added.

Why we’re registering shisha spots – Govt

With all the negative impacts of shisha smoking on the human body and its addictiveness, it was, therefore, little surprise when the Kano State Government prohibited it, being one of the sharia-compliant states.

But instead of taking action to eradicate shisha smoking in the state, residents and business owners said they were surprised that the government, through its recently inaugurated task force, had instead directed all shisha smoking shops to ‘register’ with it.

The task force was inaugurated to regulate the activities of operators of hotels, motels, guest houses, restaurants, event centres, travelling agencies, viewing and recreational centres.

It was also saddled with the mandate of “curbing the menace of drug abuse and prostitution among young girls taking place in such public places.”

The committee is chaired by Baffa Babba Dan Agundi, the current managing director of the Kano Road Traffic Agency (KAROTA), who earlier held sway as the acting chairman of the state Consumer Protection Council (CPC).

Dan Agundi insisted that the law had been passed banning the smoking of shisha in the state, either in public or privately.

“The task force has been inaugurated, which I chair, and we have started registering recreational centres under the new law because mostly, they allow shisha smoking in their places.

“The law states that we should capture, regulate and tell them the rules and regulations of shisha smoking in the state. We are at the stage of registration. The enforcement to stop the smoking of shisha will take off as soon as we are done with the registration,” he said.

He, however, said his task force had asked most of the shops to stop operations, adding that those yet to comply risked indefinite closure and legal action.

“The reason for government’s action is not just about the smoking, they have formed the habit of putting so many intoxicating drugs and so many other things into the substance,” he added.

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