Is Shisha Legal in Nigeria?
Shisha smoking is rapidly gaining popularity among the youth in Nigeria, with shisha pots becoming a common sight in nightclubs. The legality of shisha in Nigeria may raise questions, but rest assured, we will address your concerns and provide further insights on the subject. Continue reading to discover whether shisha is legal in Nigeria.
WHAT IS SHISHA?
Shisha, also known as hookah or water pipe, is a device used for smoking flavored tobacco. It consists of a water-filled base, a bowl that holds the tobacco, a heat source, and a hose or pipe for inhaling the smoke. Shisha tobacco, also referred to as shisha molasses, is a blend of tobacco, molasses or honey, and various flavors such as fruit, mint, or spices. When the heat source is applied to the tobacco, it produces smoke that passes through the water in the base and is then inhaled through the hose or pipe. Shisha smoking is often a social activity, with individuals sharing a hookah and taking turns inhaling the flavored smoke. It has been popular in many cultures and is often associated with relaxation and socializing.
IS SHISHA LEGAL IN NIGERIA?
Indeed, shisha is permitted in Nigeria. However, being a tobacco product, there are specific tobacco control laws in place that impose certain limitations on the usage, sale, and promotion of shisha within the country. These restrictions encompass the prohibition of selling shisha to individuals below 18 years of age and the forbiddance of shisha smoking on public transport, indoor public areas, and workplaces.
WHAT ARE THE LEGAL REGULATIONS ON SHISHA IN NIGERIA?
While shisha smoking itself is not considered illegal in Nigeria, there exists a set of laws specifically designed to govern the use, sale, and production of tobacco products, including shisha. These tobacco control laws serve as a framework to regulate shisha and other tobacco-related items within the country. Below is an inventory of the tobacco control laws established in Nigeria:
– Tobacco Smoking (Control) Decree (No. 20) 1990
– Tobacco Smoking (Control) Act (1990, No. 20)
– A Law to Prohibit the Advertisement of Cigarette and Other Tobacco-Related Products (2002, No. 4)
– Nigerian Industrial Standard (NIS) 463:2008, Standard for Tobacco and Tobacco Products – Specifications for Cigarettes (2014)
– National Industrial Tobacco Control Act 2015
– Nigerian Industrial Standard (NIS) 463:2018, Standard for Tobacco and Tobacco Products – Specifications for Cigarettes 2018
– National Tobacco Control Regulations 2019
In addition to these domestically enacted laws, Nigeria also aligns itself with the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which it became a party to on January 18, 2006.
WHAT RESTRICTIONS DO TOBACCO CONTROL LAWS IMPOSE ON SHISHA IN NIGERIA?
Tobacco control laws in Nigeria have introduced several restrictions on tobacco products, including shisha. In this section, we will outline the specific limitations imposed by these laws on shisha in Nigeria.
One significant restriction, established by the Tobacco Control Act of 2015, involves the creation of smoke-free zones. These designated areas prohibit the smoking of tobacco products, including shisha. Violating this restriction constitutes an offense. The following locations are examples of where shisha smoking is prohibited in Nigeria:
– Indoor public places
– Indoor workplaces
– Public transport
– Restaurants and bars (as well as any areas where food and beverages are served or consumed)
– Playgrounds, amusement parks, and public gatherings
– Bus stops, vehicle parks, and seaports
Furthermore, tobacco control laws in Nigeria restrict the sale of shisha and other tobacco products to individuals under the age of 18.
Moreover, there are restrictions on the advertisement, promotion, and sponsorship of tobacco products, including shisha, in Nigeria.
Also, tobacco control laws require health warnings to be displayed on the packaging of tobacco products. Every tobacco packaging should feature a combined picture and text health warning covering at least 50% of the packaging. While cigarette packaging complies with this requirement, shisha, which often lacks conventional packaging, faces challenges in meeting this guideline.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH RISKS ASSOCIATED TO SHISHA SMOKING?
Shisha smoking poses various health risks similar to those associated with cigarette smoking. Like cigarettes, shisha often contains tobacco, exposing shisha smokers to comparable health issues. Furthermore, shisha typically contains nicotine, making it potentially as addictive as smoking cigarettes. Harmful substances such as tar, carbon monoxide, arsenic, and lead are also present in shisha.
The combination of nicotine, tobacco, carbon monoxide, and heavy metals contributes to the formation of sticky arterial walls in shisha smokers. Fatty materials adhere to the artery walls, potentially causing blockages in the arteries responsible for carrying blood to the heart, thereby increasing the risk of heart attacks. Similarly, if this occurs in the arteries supplying blood to the brain, the likelihood of a stroke becomes imminent.
In addition to cardiovascular risks, shisha smoking can lead to various health complications, including cancer, reduced fertility, and respiratory infections. According to a study conducted by the World Health Organization, a single 60-minute shisha smoking session is equivalent to smoking over 100 cigarettes in terms of smoke intake and exposure to harmful substances.
HOW DOES SHISHA SMOKING COMPARE TO CIGARETTE SMOKING?
There is a common misconception among many shisha smokers that smoking shisha is less harmful than smoking cigarettes. However, this belief is far from the truth, as shisha contains numerous harmful components found in cigarettes, including tar, heavy metals, and nicotine—the addictive substance present in cigarettes.
Moreover, the high temperatures used to heat the tobacco in the hookah produce smoke that is just as toxic as cigarette smoke, including harmful substances like carbon monoxide. In fact, shisha smokers are exposed to a larger volume of smoke compared to cigarette smokers. If both a shisha smoker and a cigarette smoker were to smoke continuously for an hour, the shisha smoker would inhale more smoke, carbon monoxide, and nicotine than the cigarette smoker. Ultimately, both shisha smokers and cigarette smokers face similar health risks, debunking the notion that shisha smoking is a safer alternative.
Shisha smoking is legal in Nigeria; however, it is subject to regulations imposed by tobacco control laws. These laws restrict the sale, usage, and advertisement of shisha, aiming to protect public health and prevent tobacco-related harm. It is important for people to be aware of these restrictions, including the prohibition of selling shisha to minors, limitations on smoking in public places and workplaces, and the requirement for health warnings on packaging.