Shisha smokers warned on no smoking day
AS smokers across the country put their cigarettes out today, a Gloucester shisha business is booming.
Today is National No Smoking Day, a national initiative aimed at encouraging smokers to take the leap and make a quit attempt.
And while almost everyone is aware of the dangers of cigarettes, the British Heart Foundation is now warning people of the dangers of smoking shisha.
They believe it is linked to the same serious and life- threatening diseases.
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Shisha, or Hookah, smokers inhale flavoured tobacco through exotic waterpipes and share it with several people. The practice orginates from India and the Middle East.
Cafe El Bahdja, in Westgate Street, is the only business in the county which sells shisha.
They sell a variety of tobaccos which are flavoured with molasses.
Owner Lizzie Abderrahim agreed there could be consequences to smoking shisha, but said it was more likely to be a social treat than a several times a day occurrence.
She said: "From our point of view we provide it to people who wish to smoke it.
"It is smoking, there's no getting away from that of course.
"But there is an argument to suggest smoking through liquid lessens the impact of the toxins associated with normal smoking."
Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the BHF, 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."
Ian Gray, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health principal policy officer, added: "So great are our concerns that we have produced a guidance document which includes descriptions of the health hazards associated with smoking waterpipes."
Gloucestershire NHS stop smoking service has helped 3,019 people quit since April 2011 and more than 17,000 since they started in 2000.