KUWAIT CITY, March 13: Due to a series of recklessness and confusion in the Ministry of Health which continues unabated Kuwait has been thrust into a problem at the Gulf level and caused embarrassment at the world level because of the confusion in allowing or preventing the importation of electronic sheesha and accompanying flavors, reports Al-Jaridah daily.
The issue is built around the first decision which was issued by the Ministry of Health to ban the import of the item in question and subsequent request sent to the General Administration of Customs to prevent the import of such hookah following a similar ban which was issued earlier on the import of e-cigarettes.
The ministry said the ban on electronic sheesha and respective flavors and e-cigarettes fall within the recommendation No. 8 of the meeting of the executive body of the Gulf Cooperation Council Health Ministers which stipulates the need for the total ban on trading in e-cigarettes in the GCC countries. Based on this statement, the Customs Department issued a circular on Feb 8 to all its branches to ban the import and trading in electronic sheesha flavors in line with the ban on e-cigarettes.
However, on Feb 29, 2016, the Ministry of Health 21 days after imposing the ban, asked the Customs Department to lift the ban on sheesha and the flavors after thoroughly studying the issue which led to the Customs Department issuing a decision to allow the import of the disputed item on March 3, 2016. Between prohibition and allowing the import of the item in question the Ministry of Health has violated the international and GCC decisions.
Meanwhile, the GCC executive office, in a strongly-worded letter, has expressed shock at the decision of Kuwait, pointing out that the Ministry of Health by allowing the import of electronic sheesha has shown it lacks determination to exercise control on the consumption of tobacco which is contrary to the articles of agreement of the World Health Organization (WHO) concerning combating the consumption of tobacco.
The concerned authority has called on those responsible in Kuwait to take appropriate measures to correct that decision, in line with the GCC Health Ministers and the World Health Organization (WHO) decisions