Kasenengwa PF member of parliament Sensio Banda has withdrawn a motion in which he wanted the National Assembly to agree to urge the Executive arm of the government to ban Shisha smoking in Zambia.
The motion, which was seconded by Itezhi-tezhi UPND member of parliament Hebert Shabula, came under attack after Mitete UPND member of parliament Misheck Mutelo and Health Minister Chitatlu Chilufya questioned the reasons advanced by the Kasenengwa law maker for banning the substance.
In his submission, Banda gave a number of examples to explain what Shisha smoking was and what it’s effects were as he endeavoured to urge members of parliament to call on the Executive to ban the smoking of the substance in the country.
“This motion was prompted by World Health Organisation’s concern about the harmful effect of Shisha on human health and recommendations to the health organisation on Tobacco control. As the House if fully aware, tobacco smoking is the leading preventable cause of premature death with about six million people worldwide dying from tobacco related diseases every year and Zambia is not an exception. Madam Speaker, tobacco smoking significantly contributes to overwhelming disease burden in low income countries which include Zambia. The negative effects of smoking extends well beyond individuals as billions of dollars are lost in health care expenditure related to smoking every year. It is in view of the foregoing that we are calling on this house to urge the Executive to ban the smoking of Shisha in Zambia,” said Banda.
And Shabula said Shisha was one of the most hazarous substances that man could be exposed to.
“Contrary to beliefs that Shisha smoking is less harmful and addictive as compared to cigarettes, it’s smoke contains high concentration of hazardous chemicals and by products that expose Shisha smokers to a higher risk of diseases such as lung cancer, respiratory diseases, chronic diseases , low birth weight, blindness and smokers are also exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide, heavy metals and cancer causing metals from the burning of charcoal used for heating Shisha. In addition, sharing of Shisha pipes contributes to the effects of other communicable diseases,” said Shabula in supporting the motion.
But Mitete member of parliament Misheck Mutelo criticised Banda, wondering if the country was supposed to ban every other substance or practice that could lead to death.
“Listening from all the debaters, they have been saying this is a practice that has been going on. They have not even stated as to when it started. Now today they are saying because of ABCD, let it be banned. Now Madam Speaker HIV which has killed many people comes from having sex, so my question is are we going to ban sex because it’s killing people? So what am suggesting to the mover of the motion is that maybe he should have urged the government on a number of issues… people must take responsibility, even the cars that we drive, people die in road accidents. So are we going to say we should ban all the cars because we have road accidents that kill people? Guns that we have kill so many people, are we going to ban guns because they kill people? So the bottom line here is people should take responsibility. What’s the difference between Shisha and other cigarettes? I think the research by the mover if the motion was not properly done,” said Mutelo.
And Health Minister Chitatlu Chilufya said the executive could unfortunately not support the motion moved by Sensio because there was no way government could afford to ban every other substance that was deadly before looking for other options.
Dr Chilufya, however, urged the Kasenengwa Lawmaker to engage the executive and help in finding a comprehensive solution that could work better.
After hearing the submissions from both the members who supported and those who did not, Banda decided to withdraw the motion, saying he needed to go back to the House after further consultation.