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Cancer association supports hookah ban – News

Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) CEO Rolf Hansen says his organization supports Parliament’s proposal to ban hookahs, also known as hubbly-bubbly.

He said CAN regularly receives complaints about the “intensified” use of hookah and similar products, especially by young people and in public spaces, including schools and restaurants.

“We strongly support it, as we especially observed many young people smoking hookahs. Smoking may not occur in public spaces and enclosed areas, but hookahs will still be found in lounges, restaurants and nightclubs,” Hansen said.

He called for greater police support to help manage community complaints.

This also comes after the government’s proposal to regulate hookah smoking and vaping has received mixed reactions, with some advocating for stricter controls and others emphasizing the importance of personal freedoms.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services is expected to present to parliament a review and proposed amendments to the Tobacco Control Act, incorporating regulations for nicotine products used in vaping.

This legislative effort, scheduled for the middle of this month, aims to curb the growing use of electronic cigarettes and water pipes (hookahs) throughout the country.

Additionally, the amendment will support the creation of a comprehensive tobacco strategic plan.

According to 2022 data from the World Health Organization, around the world at least 37 million young people between 13 and 15 years old use some form of tobacco.

Hansen said products like e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches are gaining popularity among young people.

He said the tobacco industry works to create an environment that promotes acceptance of its products among the next generation, including lax regulation to ensure its products are available and affordable.

“The industry also develops products and advertising tactics that appeal to children and teenagers, reaching them through social media and streaming platforms,” ​​Hansen said.

The introduction of new regulations is expected to address the growing problem of alternative nicotine delivery systems such as vaping devices and water pipes.

Dudu Murorua of the United Democratic Front (UDF) also expressed support for the amendments to the law.

“I support the measure wholeheartedly as long-term use of tobacco products can cause cancer,” Murorua said.

Last year, People’s Democratic Movement MP Elma Dienda in the National Assembly called for a complete ban on hookahs in Namibia.

Dienda said hookahs are destroying underage youth.

“I saw a mother and her children sitting under a tree. I thought they were passing out an asthma pump when I saw the mother hand it to the child. I thought the whole family had asthma, not knowing it was a champagne pipe,” she said at the time.

Yesterday, Namibia National Youth Council president Sharonice Busch said that while the organization supports the amendments, proper consultations are necessary.

He further said that he firmly believes that a healthy young population is crucial to nation-building and that he is aware of the scientific evidence indicating the health impacts of tobacco and vaping.

“However, at all times a balance must be struck between personal freedoms and what we allow in terms of the law. Therefore, our hope is that thorough consultations will take place before making such amendments,” Busch said.

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