The latest figures show a tenfold rise in shisha shops in Birmingham, from only three shops in 2007, there are now 32 shisha venues across the city
The presentation of a report on shisha shops was delivered by Janet Bradley, Environmental Health Operations Manager within Birmingham City Council at a meeting held by the Licensing and Public Protection Committee, chaired by Cllr Barbara Dring (lab).
An important part of the presentation included results from a survey, conducted by Birmingham City University final year students, regarding the habits and health awareness of shisha smokers.
From 450 people surveyed (18-24) 48% were shisha users and 46% of those had started between the ages of 16 and 18.
However, 95% of all surveyed haven’t seen any messages about the harms of shisha smoking while worryingly, 52% of respondents said they weren’t aware that traditional shisha contains tobacco.
Environmental Health Manager, Janet Bradley said:
“Small-scale research suggests that shisha users are not fully informed about the potential harms associated with this activity. Research also suggests that those smoking traditional shisha pipes (not e-shisha pens) do not realise they are smoking tobacco, the same as smoking cigarettes.”
On the other hand, those families who allow shisha to be smoked regularly at home can also pose a threat to their children’s health.
“Colleagues within the Black Country Tobacco Control Alliance have found that shisha smoking in the home is common within some communities. Unfortunately, information on shisha smoking risks is limited.”
The respondents had said that they will like to see awareness messages through posters and videos, particularly on “disease transmission”, “staying fit” and “smoking tobacco”. They preferred if awareness messages are placed in schools, universities, and colleges.
Some had replied shisha was “a fun thing to do” and way of “hanging out with friends”.
Also as means to “blow off steam” and to “zone out” while others describe shisha as “lighter than cigarettes and cannabis” and “traditional and harmless”.
Janet Bradley said at the report presentation this shouldn’t be seen as a priority area for a campaign action around smoking harms but rather as a niche smoking activity.
“The Regional Tobacco Control Alliance is currently working together with West Midlands Fire Authority to produce information on shisha risks to be distributed in a variety of ways.”
To see the full presentation on shisha smoking in Birmingham delivered on 16th Nov. before the Licensing and Public Protection Committee, click here.