The Ministry of Public Health (Minsanté) is stepping up enforcement of a ban issued by the Ministry of Territorial Administration on chicha consumption in public places, Minister Malachie Manaouda (photo) announced on his X (formerly Twitter).
The move comes amid concerns about the rising popularity of chicha, a water pipe tobacco used for smoking flavored molasses. While banned in public establishments since last year, the regulation is not always followed.
"Given the resurgence of non-communicable diseases, my teams will be visiting leisure establishments to enforce compliance with the relevant regulations," Manaouda wrote.
Citing health risks associated with chicha use, including lung cancer and respiratory problems, Minsanté launched an awareness campaign last February during Youth Week, advocating for a ban on chicha use among young people. The Ministry of Territorial Administration (Minat) subsequently enacted the ban in public establishments.
However, compliance has been patchy. Minat President Paul Atanga Nji acknowledged the challenge in Parliament, attributing it to the adult demographic of most chicha consumers. He emphasized ongoing efforts to raise awareness among parents to curb the practice among youth.
Manaouda's announcement signals a tougher stance from Minsanté. However, the Minsanté does not explain the penalties incurred by those in charge of leisure establishments.
Michel Ange Nga