CAIRO: Egypt banned Thursday the “World Hookah [water pipe] Championship” scheduled to be held at Cairo International Conferences Center (CICC) on Thursday and Friday, according to Al Masry Al Youm newspaper.
In his Thursday’s statement on Egypt’s state-run TV, Minister of Health Adel Adawi criticized the event.
“It is a blatant breach of the anti-tobacco framework of the World Health Organization (WHO) to which Egypt is a signatory,” said Awad.
The framework ensures the government’s commitment to take the necessary legal procedures aim to protecting people from the dangerous consequences of smoking, he added.
In a Facebook page named Hookah Battle, the sponsors of the competition said “Hookah Battle is unique and the only event in the world, where leading shisha masters face a fair fight.”
In a Wednesday post, they called on the participants to take all the “necessary equipments” with them before going to the competition.
Prizes were to go out to the best-looking Hookah, the best taste of tobacco and the longest puff, said the Facebook page.
Representatives of the Ministry of Investment, Cairo Governorate and the Health Ministry coordinated to ban the event given that the sponsors have not informed the authorities, Chief of Preventative and Endemic Diseases Sector at Egypt’s Health Ministry Dr Amr Kandeel told Al-Masry Al-Youm.
“Legal procedures have been taken against the sponsors of the event,” said Kandeel.
The organizers’ Facebook page had made no mention of the event’s closure as of Friday evening, and did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Egypt became a signatory to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2003, and ratified it in 2005. An estimated 44% of Egyptian men are daily smokers, with only .03% of women smoking, according to the 2013 WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic. In a 2005 report, the WHO stated that hookah smokers would inhale the equivalent of 100 cigarettes over the course of an hour.
Tobacco use is ” one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing nearly six million people a year,” the WHO states on its website.