PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia has banned the import, sale and promotion of e-cigarettes and shisha tobacco, a favorite of hookah-using smokers, a government agency said Wednesday.
The Cambodian Anti-Drug Authority said in a statement that electronic cigarettes, which emit water vapor containing nicotine, and shisha, flavored tobacco smoked through a water pipe, have been imported in increasing quantities recently and become popular with young people.
Smoking shisha has become a popular social activity worldwide in recent years, and more than a dozen shisha lounges have opened in Phnom Penh in the past year or so.
The statement said e-cigarettes and shisha are drugs that are a major problem affecting young people’s studies and work.
Shisha has been condemned by medical authorities in many countries as being as unhealthy as cigarettes. In the United States, at least 27 states have passed legislation prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. Advocates of e-cigarettes say they can help smokers quit tobacco, but some critics contend the inhalers can get young people addicted to nicotine just like cigarettes.