Young Shisha smokers at risk

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Leicester children as young as 12 are getting hooked on a form of tobacco smoking which is even more dangerous than cigarettes. They are using the Shisha or hubble-bubble pipe, wrongly believing it is almost harmless. Shisha tobacco is often sweetened and flavoured, and is drawn through water. Lynn Richards, STOP! Advisor with NHS Leicester City said: “A man I spoke to said the pattern of behaviour was children going to the cafe to buy a cake and then smoking shisha at the back. They come home and when their dad goes off to Saudi-or wherever- they ask for him to bring back a shisha pipe. It is becoming more prevalent for the youngsters to socialise during an evening with a shisha.” Youngsters start around the age of 12, especially if their father lets them have a puff of his pipe. There are lots of warnings about cigarettes but few about SHISHA. Many children are getting inaccurate and misleading information from their friends and family, who tell them it is harmless. In a session lasting 60 minutes, a smoker can inhale as much smoke as a cigarette smoker would from 100-200 cigarettes. Water-pipe smokers may absorb higher levels of dangerous chemicals because of higher concentrations in the smoke itself, or because they may smoke for several hours at a time and may inhale moisturised less irritating smoke more deeply. Louise Ross, STOP! Manager said: “ Shisha users are risking their HEALTH with the same diseases as cigarette smokers- including CANCER, HEART DISEASE, RESPIRATORY DISEASE and PREGNANCY problems.

Extracted from the Magazine LEICESTER CITY NHS NEWS OF JUNE 2009

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