The billionaire Bloomberg, three times mayor of New York and former homeless person, is a staunch opponent to the idea of harm reduction and put over $220 million into fighting cigarettes and vapes through his Bloomberg Philanthropies charity. Apart from obliterating the use of nicotine and sugar, the affluent chap would also like to herd sheep across London Bridge during rush hour.
“I do have the right to drive sheep across London Bridge and before I die, I want to do it one day at rush hour, just to see what happens” – Mike Bloomberg
Last year it was announced he was donating a further $5 million to fund the Partnership For Healthy Cities campaign. Kampala is one of the lucky recipients of the cash and officials have decided the best use is to create (what has been termed by vapers) a ‘snitch line’.
Electronic cigarettes have been banned in Uganda since late 2015/early 2016, including a zero-tolerance approach to the use and importation of liquids either with or without nicotine. At the time of the legislation change, many wondered how it was going to be enforced.
Although there have been reports of arrests, the police approach has been sporadic at best. With corruption rampant throughout Kampala, chance of a knock on the door tends to be down to who you know and who you have upset.
Cigarettes remain available, smoking is only banned “within 50 meters of any public place, workplace, or near any means of public transport”. Vape shops do exist despite the absolute ban on reduced harm products, and smokers can still make the switch to a safer alternative if they look hard enough. But warnings persist and travellers are advised not to carry vape equipment in their luggage when arriving at Kampala airport.
Bloomberg has called for urgent action through editorials posted on his website, and Kampala’s response was communicated through the Kampala Capital City Authority. Members of the public who want to grass up evil vapers just need to dial 0800990000 – police officers looking for a bribe will be very grateful.