The use of shisha remains illegal after a judge yesterday declined to temporarily lift the ban imposed by Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu.
Justice John Mativo instead directed 15 applicants, who had sought orders to lift the ban, to file the main case and serve the CS and the Attorney General with court papers before the hearing on January 4. The Judge, however, allowed them to challenge the ban.
The 15 applicants led by Kennedy Amdany Langat, Maurice Obunga, Stephen Irungu, Vivian Shikweya and Henry Gitau moved to court a day after Dr Mailu imposed the ban on the importation, promotion and the use of Shisha in Kenya.
The 15 said they are among importers, manufacturers, sellers, promoters and users shisha in the country.
The use of shisha is regulated under the Tobacco Act of 2007. The practice is defined as oriental tobacco pipe with a long flexible tube connected to the container where tobacco smoke is burned then cooled by passing through water or other liquid.
The Act allows use of tobacco products in secluded or specified places but does not ban the use of the product.
Shisha smoking has been legal until the notice issued on Thursday by the Health CS.
But the 15 applicants argued that the outright ban demonstrates selective application of the law and unfairness to the users of shisha because other tobacco users have not affected.
Mr Langat, who runs Shisha Place Bar and Restaurant in Westlands, said in a sworn statement that he has a licence to carry out the business.
He said while imposing the ban, the CS failed to state which diseases can be attracted, transmitted or acquired by using the tobacco product.
He added that the CS acted unreasonably because he did not give them a notice so that they could avoid restocking and supplying the product.