By Mathew Beech
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has warned of the dangers of shisha pipes for No Smoking Day (Wednesday, March 14).
Shish smokers inhale flavoured tobacco through exotic water pipes, but new research has shown that smoking n this fashion is more harmful to your health than a cigarette.
Coupled with this, a Freedom of Information request by the charity has revealed there are more than three times the number of shisha bars in the UK today, than there were in 2007.
Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the BHF, said: “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.
“Fortunately No Smoking Day is a great opportunity for anyone who smokes, in whatever form, to try and quit.”
Shisha smoking is linked to the same kinds of diseases as cigarette smoking including heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease and problems during pregnancy.
However, more than one in ten UK adults surveyed for the BHF thought there were no health harms from using shisha, and just 43 per cent knew it could contain tobacco.
The rise in the number of shisha bars is in stark contrast to the steady decline in cigarette smokers in the UK and has prompted the BHF to urge people to find out the facts about shisha as part of its No Smoking Day campaign.
More than 750,000 people attempt to quit on No Smoking Day each year but the charity is concerned thousands of quitters may still be putting their health at risk by using shisha
BHF fear the rising number of shisha bars could provide a new gateway for people to start smoking and become addicted to tobacco.
TV doctor Dr Hilary Jones, who has appeared on ITV’s Daybreak, said: “Quitting smoking is a tough challenge but the benefits are huge, which is why I’m supporting all smokers trying to quit this No Smoking Day.
“But while you’ve already got my support, there’s plenty more out there so make sure you find it in your friends and family and professionals like your doctor, that way you’ll be much more likely to succeed and be healthier, richer and happier to boot.”
Smokers who want to find out more can visit http://www.taketheleap.co.uk or call 0800 434 6677.