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Health warning to Shisha smokers

Photo courtesy: Kajal Nisha Patel

A shisha smoking session is the equivalent of smoking a hundred cigarettes, according to the charity, British Heart Foundation (BHF).


Using the Freedom of Information Act the charity obtained information revealing the number of shisha bars in Leicester has risen from 6 in 2007 to 20 in 2012 and they are warning of the risks of such bars.


The effects of smoking tobacco are frequently publicised – risk of lung disease, of heart attacks and strokes, cancer of the throat, lungs and mouth – however not many are aware of the similar risks of shisha smoking which involves inhaling flavoured tobacco through water pipes.


A survey conducted by the BHF uncovered startling statistics which show 84 per cent of people surveyed thought a typical hour-long shisha session was the same as smoking around ten cigarettes – in reality it is closer to a hundred.


The BHF’s associate medical director, Dr Mike Knapton, said: ‘Contrary to popular belief, shisha is not safer than smoking cigarettes.


‘People shouldn’t be duped by the sweet smell and wholesome sounding fruity flavours, if you use shisha you are a smoker and that means you’re putting your health at risk.


‘Shisha is linked to the same serious and life-threatening diseases as cigarettes and there are added risks because you often smoke it for far longer than you would a cigarette and you’re also exposed to toxins from the wood or charcoal used to burn the tobacco.’

Photo courtesy: Kajal Nisha Patel


While some shisha bars replace the tobacco with herbal mixtures many people do not know the difference.


The survey carried out by the BHF to mark No Smoking Day revealed that of those between the ages of 25 and 34 15 per cent believed that shisha smoking posed no health risks at all and 44 per cent thought it was less harmful than cigarettes.


The data obtained was from across 133 local authorities in the UK, which shows that in total the number of shisha bars has shot up by 210 per cent since the smoking ban came into place, going from 179 shisha cafes in 2007 to 556 today.