Health warning over rise in Glasgow shisha bars

May 5, 2012 4:51 pm 0 comments Views: 159


A health charity has warned shisha smokers in Glasgow that one hour-long session could be the same as inhaling the smoke of 100 cigarettes.

Scotland’s seven shisha bars – all of which have opened in Glasgow since 2007 – allow customers to inhale flavoured tobacco through exotic water pipes.

The British Heart Foundation said some people wrongly thought this was healthy or less harmful than cigarettes.

The charity issued the warning to coincide with No Smoking Day.

The British Heat Foundation (BHF) polled 2,291 adults across the UK, 185 of whom were in Scotland.

The results found that 84% of respondents in Scotland believed a shisha was the equivalent to smoking 10 cigarettes or fewer while “almost everyone” polled was unaware the amount of smoke inhaled in a typical one-hour session could equal that of 100.

The survey also showed that 9% of respondents from Scotland had used the pipes, which are also known as hookahs.

A freedom of information request submitted by BHF to Glasgow City Council showed that there has been an increase in shisha bars trading in Scotland’s largest city in the past five years.

Heart disease

Glasgow now has seven shisha bars compared to none in 2007.

The charity said shisha smoking was linked to the same kinds of diseases as cigarette smoking, including heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease and problems during pregnancy.

However, only half of the adults who responded to the poll in Scotland (53%) knew they could contain tobacco and one in six (17%) thought there were no health risks from using shisha.

A total of 15% thought it was less harmful than smoking cigarettes.

The charity also claimed shishas could provide a new gateway for people to start smoking and become addicted to tobacco.

Andy Carver, prevention and care adviser at BHF Scotland, said: “Contrary to popular belief, shisha is not safer than smoking cigarettes.

“Don’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.

“It’s 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.”

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