The Vision for Alternative Development, the Ghana Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance and other civil society organizations have issued a petition calling on Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) immediately to ban the smoking of shisha in the country, according to a Ghana News Agency story.

The petition said that under the Public Health Act of 2012 (Act 851), specifically part six, (Tobacco Control Measures), shisha must be considered an illicit product that was causing negative health consequences for young people, who were the main targets of shisha.

‘Apart from the known diseases such as heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease and problems during pregnancy, smokers are at high risk of infectious diseases such as TB, Hepatitis, among other diseases,’ the petition said.

The World Health Organization was quoted as saying in a recent advisory note to regulators that smoking shisha posed grave health risks.

The WHO had said it was commonly believed that shisha reduced the risks of smoking because shisha smoke was passed through water.

But the WHO insisted that even after it had been passed through water, the smoke produced contained high levels of toxic compounds, including carbon monoxide, heavy metals and cancer-causing chemicals.

The petition said it was believed that the import of shisha products was illegal.

It said all tobacco products must be registered with the FDA before they were allowed entry into the country.

It said shisha products were being imported from neighboring countries through unapproved routes. Some of these products displayed no country of origin and it was not known what their constituents were.

Any product, including tobacco, that did not display its country of origin was illicit, therefore shisha was an illicit product and must be immediately banned, the petitioners said.

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