KAMPALA – Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) on Thursday destroyed shisha equipment valued at about UGX300m in a bid to mitigate public smoking.
The equipment included 1,500 shisha pots, tubes, flavors and other assorted items have impounded over time.
While supervising the destruction of the equipment at Nakawa Division headquarters, the State Minister for Kampala, Ms Benny Namugwanya, said the exercise was a wakeup call to the general public to desist from smoking.
“If you don’t take care of your lives, you are going to perish because these drugs are very dangerous to your health. Please separate yourselves from smoking these drugs if you want to survive,” she said.
KCCA is currently implementing the Tobacco Control Act which among others bars demand and consumption of tobacco and its products.
The destroyed equipment will be taken to Nakasongola from where it will be burnt.
The minister further directed police officers at different police stations across the city to hand over to KCCA all the shisha-related equipment in their possession.
She cautioned the general public especially the youths about the dangers of smoking and using drugs.
The Tobacco Control Bill was passed into law by Parliament on July 28, 2015, and was assented to by the President on September 19, 2015. The Act is a fulfillment of Uganda’s obligations to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
However, the minister said that the implementation of the law is difficult because the current law only allows suspects to be prosecuted only if the drugs have been proved as dangerous at the government analytical laboratory.
“Police claims that whenever you arrest somebody, you have to take the substance which a suspect has been consuming to government analytical laboratory so that they can ascertain whether it is dangerous or not,” whe said.
She said that she will work with the Minister of Health to ensure that the Act is taken back to Cabinet and moot for the amendments of some clauses.
Health experts report that the majority of patients admitted to Butabika National Referral Mental Hospital are university and high school students suffering from alcohol and drug abuse.
The 2005 World Health Organization report ranked Uganda the leading consumer of alcohol in the world with a per capita consumption rate of 19.5 liters of alcohol per annum.