The second qualitative study looked at the operation of waterpipe smoking outlets and the illegal sale of non-conventional tobacco products such as waterpipe tobacco, electronic cigarettes including shisha pens and heated tobacco products. In Mauritius, the importation and sale of tobacco products for use in waterpipes is banned, although waterpipe use is allowed in certain categories of hotels.
The study notes that, despite the ban, waterpipe tobacco and charcoal are available for sale to the public in shops in certain localities. While it remains mostly an underground activity, some shops are selling them openly, in complete violation of the law. Few waterpipe smoking outlets are currently operational due to the outbreak of Covid-19 and the slowdown of activities in the hospitality sector. Electronic cigarettes and shisha pens are available for sale to the public in some shops while their commercialisation is considered an illegal activity by law.
Authorities should aim at providing universal protection against the use of waterpipe tobacco and exposure to waterpipe smoke by revoking theamendments made to the Public Health (Restrictions on Tobacco Products) Regulations of 2008, allowing the use of waterpipes in certain categories of hotels. Amendments should be made to the existing regulations to ban the importation, sale and use of both waterpipes andwaterpipe tobacco. Finally, authorities should ensure strict enforcement of the ban on the importation and sale of new technology and tobacco imitation products.