The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) says
waterpipe tobacco smoking, popularly known as ‘shisha’, is illegal in Ghana.
Mrs Juliana Amankwah-Marfo, Senior
Regulatory Officer, FDA, told the Ghana News Agency, that, “By law, FDA has to
regulated its usage. Operators must come to us to register before offering it
to the public but no one has come to us to register.”
According to the World Health Organisation
(WHO), the waterpipe tobacco smoking, which is also known as ‘hookah or
narghileh,’ is a form of tobacco consumption that utilises a single or
multi-stemmed instrument to smoke flavoured or non-flavoured tobacco, where
smoke is designed to pass through water or other liquids before reaching the
It consists of a head or tobacco bowl in
which tobacco is placed, a body, a water bowl, a hose and a mouthpiece.
Operators of most pubs and drinking
spots in the urban areas make the waterpipes available to their customers who
openly inhale the flavoured tobacco smoke emanating from it.
Mrs Amankwah-Marfo urged the public to
report operators of pubs, restaurants, drinking spots among others who offer it
to their customers as well as shops that trade in it.
She disclosed that officials of the FDA
had seized a number of the waterpipes in some big malls and supermarkets with
administrative sanctions handed over to them.
According to her, they also visited pubs
and other places unannounced to check the use of such illicit drugs and seized
their equipment and subsequently issued sanctions adding that those who refused
to adhere to the sanctions were put before the courts.
She appealed to the general public to
help the FDA to clamp down on activities of operators and smokers of illicit
drugs, especially ‘shisha’ by reporting them to the Authority.
She pleaded with the youth to stay away
from it and any other tobacco product as engaging in it predisposed them to
cancer regretting that “now it is the trend among the youth as they wrongly
believe that because the tobacco is flavoured, their health is secured.”
A fact sheet from the WHO indicated that
‘shisha’ was becoming more popular among the youth due to its flavoured
It is erroneous the perception that
drawing tobacco smoke through the water made it less harmful than cigarette
The WHO stated that ‘shisha’ smoking is dangerous to human health as laboratory analysis of the smoke revealed measurable levels of carcinogens and other toxicants which smokers absorb in appreciable amounts.
Other effects of waterpipe smoking include elevated heart rate and blood pressure, acute cardiovascular effects, impaired lung function, increased lung inflammation, low birth weight, cancer and male infertility.