Ghana is set to ban e-cigarettes soon. An official from the Ghana Health Service confirmed the plan at last week’s World Conference on Tobacco or Health, in Cape Town, South Africa.
Divine Darlington Logo, Principal Research Officer at the Ghana Health Service, said the ban would also cover shisha (hookah tobacco), and was based on unpublished research by the health service. The news was reported by Ghanaian publication Myjoyonline.
Myjoyonline quotes Logo as saying, “We are working with Ministry of Health to ban the use of electronic cigarette and Shisha. It is more dangerous than cigarette, as far as public health is concerned, banning it is the only way out in Ghana and i can assure you by the middle of this year that has to be done.”
“First time we did a study to cover electronic cigarette and Shisha we were surprised to hear that the youth are now moving away from the traditional tobacco use in cigarettes to Shisha and the electronic cigarette which we were not aware off,” Logo said.
He claims that 8.5 percent of youth between the ages of 13 and 15 use e-cigarettes, and nearly as many smoke shisha. Again, this research has not been released to the public, and the numbers seem unusually high for a country that has relatively low smoking rates.
Among Ghanaian men (age 15 and above), 13.1 percent smoke daily, according to the Tobacco Atlas. But just 0.17 percent of 10 to 14-year-old boys are regular smokers. Among women and girls, the rates are even lower, with 0.4 and 0.21 percent smoking daily.
The impetus for the vape and shisha ban comes from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (called The Union). Both international health agencies have long fought against e-cigarettes and all other forms of tobacco harm reduction.
Vaping laws are generally permissive in Africa, but are bound to become more restrictive as international tobacco control agencies use funding as a carrot to influence policy. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Vital Strategies group is spending money throughout the developing world to steer governments toward harsh tobacco laws — and vaping laws.
Ghana is a constitutional democracy in West Africa. The former British colony is one of the most stable countries on the continent. Ghana has about 29 million citizens.