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E-cigarettes and Shisha Banned in Cambodia

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has banned imports and sales of shisha tobacco and electronic cigarettes for fear they are having a negative impact on the youth, according to the Wall Street Journal. Consumption of shisha pipes and electronic cigarettes have increased, particularly in the capital city of Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and beach resorts like Sihanoukville.

Shisha is an oriental tobacco pipe with a long flexible tube connected to a container where smoke is cooled by passing through water. According to the WHO, the pipe is as unhealthy as cigarette consumption and just as addictive.

The electronic cigarette which substitutes nicotine instead of tobacco apparently helps smokers quit but the benefits of this have not been scientifically proven. 

However, both have become an increasingly popular trend among young Cambodians. This could be detrimental to their work and study say Cambodia’s National Authority for Combating Drugs.

Last Tuesday, 15 people were arrested and 55 shisha pipes (aka “hookahs”) were confiscated when police raided bars in Siem Riep. The enforcement of the ban was in order to “maintain security” and “prevent ill effects on people’s health” asserted the city governor Khim Bunsong.

The capital is also under fire and Governor Socheatvong wants to push for a decline in consumption. Upon hearing this quite a few shisha lounges have already shut down, patiently waiting for clarification of the new regulations.

Cambodia’s ban follows in the footsteps of other countries such as Vietnam. Just as recently as June 2013, police stormed a bar in Ho Chi Minh City and seized 20 smoking shisha devices.  


[WSJ // Photo via Zavarykin Sergey]

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