Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Sheffield council targets shisha users in health campaign

Shisha user Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Sheffield City Council claims smoking shisha for an hour is as bad as smoking 100 cigarettes

A council has launched a health campaign aimed at shisha users, likening smoking it for an hour to smoking 100 cigarettes.

Since June, Sheffield City Council has prosecuted a number of bars across the city, issuing £15,000 in fines for breaking a ban on smoking indoors.

The authority is now targeting users in a campaign on social media.

Opponents argue there is not enough evidence to prove shisha is as harmful as the council claims.

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Image caption Since June, the authority has issued £15,000 in fines to shisha bars

Greg Fell, director of public health in the city, said some people believe it is safer than smoking traditional cigarettes.

However, he said data from the World Health Organisation shows smoking shisha can be "equivalent to smoking 100 cigarettes".

"We want people to know shisha is not safe and to inform them about the risks," he added.

'Safer alternative'

Shisha pipes have water at the bottom and flavoured tobacco or non-tobacco herbal mixtures covered with foil at the top.

Hot coals are placed on top of the foil and users breathe through a hose which draws smoke through the water.

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, some believe shisha to be a safer alternative to cigarettes as the smoke is purified by the water.

Nadeem Shahzad, manager of a local vape store, said there was not currently enough information to prove shisha was as harmful as the council claimed.

He accepted the tobacco-based versions were likely to be "pretty dangerous to your health", but added other versions made from dried fruit were probably not.

He also criticised the clampdown on shisha bars, claiming they had had far less impact on the community than places selling alcohol.

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