Kazakhstan bans smoking shisha in public places

01 апреля 2013, 18:55
©REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
©REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Kazakhstan Healthcare Ministry introduced a ban on smoking shisha in public places, including night clubs, restaurants, cinemas and any indoor public entertainment facilities on March 14, 2013, Tengrinews.kz reports citing the decree of the chief sanitary doctor of Kazakhstan.

The ban was based on the results of a sanitary-epidemiological check of hookahs, shisha, liquids and their vessels that showed presence of coliform and blue pus bacteria, aurococcus, yeasts and fungi harmful for people’s health.

According to head of the national coalition For Tobacco-Free Kazakhstan! Dzhamilya Sadykova, this decree is a result of the round-table meeting held on February 6, where the results of the survey were announced. According to her, 12 shisha-selling places were checked in Astana and 4-5 samples were taken from each of them. Tests for hazardous bacteria were positive in all samples. She also explained that tests for tubercle bacillus were still in process.

“This decree legally qualifies shisha as tobacco, which has never happened before. And now during the raids we will not only check the places for cigarette smoking but hookah smoking as well. The Healthcare Ministry had already introduced a full ban on smoking and use of tobacco in public areas earlier. Its any tobacco now: shisha, naswar, chewing tobacco,” head of the anti-tobacco coalition said.

She stressed that hookahs are perfect reservoirs for hazardous bacteria causing strong intoxications and serious diseases, as they are not duly cleaned. “The fact that the mouthpiece is changed does not change anything. The bacteria of people who smoked before you remain inside. All that stays in the tube, inside the flask. Plus there is water that is a perfect medium for bacteria,” Sadykova said.

The amendments to the Code on People’s Health and Healthcare System banning shisha tobacco were initiated by the coalition For Tobacco-Free Kazakhstan! and the Senate deputies decided that the Healthcare Ministry had to check shisha mixtures and hookahs before banning them.

Kazakhstan’s chief sanitary doctor Zhandarbek Bekshin said that hookahs contained dangerous viruses, such as tubercle bacillus and hepatitis virus. Even occasional shisha smoking causes damage to liver, lungs, kidneys and heart, plus that had been cases of herpes virus transmission among shisha fans. Later Vice-Minister of Healthcare Erik Baizhunussov initially said that shisha could be banned from public places in Kazakhstan in 2014.

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