Updated: Tuesday, 23rd October 2018 @ 5:08pm

Piccadilly Pulse: Mario Balotelli may not, but do you know the health risks of smoking shisha?

Piccadilly Pulse: Mario Balotelli may not, but do you know the health risks of smoking shisha?

By Gareth Westmorland

Living the high life, sipping champagne and sitting with stunning señoritas, Manchester City star Mario Balotelli was pictured at the beginning of the week on holiday smoking a shisha pipe in a St Tropez nightclub.

But does anybody know the real health risk behind the smoking craze?

And as many young and teenage football fans look up to Super Mario as their idol, has this image only glamorized the smoking sensation?

Its fruity flavours mixed with a calming atmosphere create a cocktail of cultural experience for Mancunians.

Many celebrities have been pictured smoking the pipes, including Hollyoaks actress Jennifer Metcalfe, stars of ITV’s ‘The Only Way is Essex, former Manchester City footballer Steven Ireland and Chelsea fullback Ashley Cole.

Shisha café numbers have imploded nationally since the smoking ban just over five years ago, and it seems that these are the only places where it seems legal to smoke inside a public place.

The hotspot for these café’s in Manchester is Rusholme, where a massive 30 new Shisha bars have opened their doors in the last two years.

But none of the bars come with safety warnings, like every packet of cigarettes do in shops and off-licences.

Here are just some of the facts about smoking Shisha, according to the Department of Health and the British Heart Foundation.

  • One session of smoking shisha resulted in carbon monoxide levels at least higher than the amount produced by one cigarette.four to five times
  • During a typical hour-long shisha session, you can inhale the same amount of smoke as from more than 100 tobacco cigarettes
  • Hookah tobacco and smoke contain numerous toxic substances known to cause lung, bladder, and oral cancers

The British Heart Foundation’s associate medical director, Dr Mike Knapton, warned that contrary to popular belief, shisha is not safer than smoking cigarettes.

“Don’t be duped by the sweet smell and wholesome sounding fruity flavours,” Dr Knapton said.

“If you use shisha you are a smoker, and that means you’re putting your health at risk.”

In answering the question “Are you aware of the health implications of smoking Shisha”, 70% of those questioned were not aware of the risks.

And after telling them the facts provided by the British Heart Foundation and the Department of Health, the exact same percentage, 70%, said they would think twice about smoking shisha.

But shockingly, 30% of those questioned said that despite knowing the facts, they wouldn’t make a difference to their choice of smoking cigarettes.

B. Fearnhead, of Allinz Insurance Group, said: “After seeing that picture of Balotelli, it seems that anything I am doing is just as bad for me as him. I had no idea of the health risks.”

Holly Whiting, 20, Fallowfield, said: “I’ve smoked it in nightclubs before but I didn’t know about the facts. I’d definitely think twice now I know.

Nick Pearce, 21, Rusholme, said: “The image of Balotelli doesn’t portray a great image, but I’m intrigued as I’ve never smoked it before. It’s kind of worrying, really.”

Post your comments and experiences about smoking shisha below in the comments box.

To help you quit smoking, you can call the NHS Smoking Helpline on 0800 022 4 332, or visit http://smokefree.nhs.uk

Tomorrow, I will be exploring the real dangers of shisha smoking...

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.