Updated: Friday, 19th October 2018 @ 10:03am

Shisha smoking rise prompts Manchester City Council and NHS to campaign in bid to 'save public's health'

Shisha smoking rise prompts Manchester City Council and NHS to campaign in bid to 'save public's health'

By Matthew Lees

The dangers of shisha smoking are being highlighted in a joint campaign between Manchester City Council and the NHS in Manchester next week.

The campaign will be launched across the city on Monday and will focus on raising awareness of the dangers and the health impact of shisha smoking.

The drive will also involve enforcement of existing smoking legislation as youngsters continue to take up the habit.

David Regan, director of public health, said: "Public health's joint work across the council and the NHS is highlighting health risks as there has been an alarming rise in the number of shisha bars and the number young people taking up smoking through this route.

“It is important that we educate young people so that it prevents the next generation from joining what seems to be a growing trend."

Shisha is a water-pipe, popular in many Arab countries, in which fruit-scented tobacco is burnt using coal, passed through an ornate water vessel and inhaled through a hose.

There is a common misconception that shisha is safer than cigarettes with many believing that the water filters out tobacco’s harmful substances.

With the use of herbs or fruits as flavourings, the strength of the tobacco can also be masked.

Councillor Glynn Evans, Manchester City Council’s executive member for adults' health and wellbeing, said: “First and foremost we want to make people aware that smoking shisha is as dangerous as smoking cigarettes and is harmful to people's health.

“Many people are still unaware that shisha pipes actually contain tobacco as the use of herbs or fruit as flavourings masks the tobacco, so we want to give them the facts.”

Although research about shisha is fairly limited, early studies suggest it is associated with many of the same risks as cigarette smoking.

However research by ASH, the anti-smoking charity, into shisha smoking is complicated by the fact that many users are also cigarette smokers.

Experts think regular shisha smokers can face many health problems including heart disease, respiratory disorders plus cancers of the lung, mouth and bladder.

The World Health Organisation believes smoking shisha exposes the smoker to more smoke over a longer period of time than occurs when smoking a cigarette.

It also believes second-hand smoke poses a serious risk for non-smokers because it contains smoke not only from tobacco but also the heat source used.

The campaign also wants to advise users they may face a £50 fine for smoking shisha in a public place as it is illegal.

“We also want to remind anyone smoking shisha in an enclosed space that this is illegal and if they are found doing so they could be fined,” added Councillor Evans.

According to the British Heart Foundation, the number of cafes offering shisha tobacco pipes has risen 210% since the smoking ban came into force.

In Manchester, thirty have sprung up along Wilmslow Road in Rusholme since 2009.

The Shisha Awareness Campaign will launch midday on October 8 at the Spicy Hut Restaurant, 35 Wilmslow Road, Rusholme M14 5TB.

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