A collaboration between Arua police, the Ministry of Health, the Tobacco Control Division, and Arua City health inspectors resulted in the arrest of 38 individuals involved in tobacco abuse during a recent sting operation.
The focus of this initiative, conducted over the weekend, was primarily on shisha smokers, aiming to reinforce tobacco control laws within the West Nile city communities.
Josephine Angucia, the West Nile police regional spokesperson, revealed that the operation specifically targeted shisha smoking. Those apprehended included both shisha smokers and the proprietors of shisha businesses. The arrests were made based on violations of the tobacco control laws outlined in the Tobacco Control Act 2015, specifically Part 3, sections 11, 12, and 16, which prohibit possession of banned tobacco products like shisha and smoking in public places.
While the initial operations concentrated on Arua City Central Division due to the prevalence of the vice, Angucia emphasized plans to expand these efforts to cover other areas in Greater Arua and the broader West Nile Region.
During the operations, law enforcement recovered various items, including 20 shisha pots, 18 shisha pipes, 11 tins of shisha ingredients, and 5 sachets of Jirack molasses, all of which were presented as evidence. The detained suspects are currently held at Arua central business division.
The Tobacco Control Act 2015 delineates laws, guidelines, and penalties for violations. Prior to the operation, police and the collaborative team conducted joint radio talk shows on Tobacco Control laws to raise awareness among the communities in the West Nile Region.
Individuals found in contravention of the law face a fine of not less than 480,000 shillings or imprisonment for a minimum of one year, or both, as specified in the Tobacco Control Act 2015.