Social Scene Reason for Rise in Shisha Smoking
As part of the Baiter Sehat campaign, One Voice interviewed 125 shisha users aged between 14 and 26 in Blackburn withDarwen about their attitudes to the habit.
This initiative was one of the most comprehensive local studies into the subject to date. The majority of people questioned indicated that they had heard about some of the health messages that have been provided by the Council, health authorities and medical professionals.
Of the 125 questioned nearly as many girls are smoking shisha as boys in Blackburn and Darwen. One of the key reasons determined for the popularity of shisha is the social element.
“It is so popular (shisha smoking and bars) because it gives people the chance to socialise without going to pubs and bars, because in our religion we can’t drink. We meet different people and have a good smoke. The socialising is probably the biggest reason why people go,” according to a 22-year-old male who was interviewed as part of the research.
Some of the other key messages stated in the report include the fact that many young people are not necessarily attending the bars to smoke shisha. The average age of the first time male user was 16, and the average age of the first time female user was 17.
As part of the Baiter Sehat campaign, One Voice has conducted a series of workshops to highlight the health dangers of smoking shisha to a variety of groups within the BME community, including girl’s groups, parents, and students. The organisation recently spoke to 300 Blackburn College students to discover the shisha habits of young people in Blackburn and Darwen.
Donald Read, a consultant in Public Health for Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council reiterated the importance of the campaign.
“The council and its Public Health team are delighted to be working with One Voice to raise awareness of the harms of smoking tobacco and the services that are provided in Blackburn to help people who wish to stop smoking. Smoking remains the number one cause of preventable death and ill health in Blackburn with Darwen and tackling tobacco harms remains a public health priority. We know that the majority of smokers become addicted as children and we are determined to do everything we can to protect children from the harms of smoking.
“Shisha smoking is particularly attractive to young people and we are aware from research carried out locally that there are many misconceptions that smoking shisha is not harmful to health, this is of course not the case – shisha contains tobacco and smoking shisha is addictive and study after study has shown that smoking shisha is harmful to health in exactly the same way any form of smoking is and it’s great that One Voice are working so hard to get this message across.”
Abrar Hussain, Vice Chair of One Voice said,
“The research has highlighted that we need to work with both the health professionals and the shisha smoking industry to safeguard the well-being of the young people of the community. This extensive piece of research has indicated to us that these shisha establishments are here to stay. We as an organization feel that we need to continue to educate the young people, the parents and the wider community of the serious health implications of smoking shisha for a length of time. In order to complete this we will also need to work with the shisha bars in Blackburn and Darwen.”
Smokers of any form of tobacco who wish to stop can get free support from our stop smoking service which can be contacted by calling: 01254 587999 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org “
The Baiter Sehat campaign is conducted by One Voice in partnership with Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.
Roadshows Highlight Smoking Dangers
One Voice, through the Baiter Sehat campaign also hosted a series of roadshows to inform youth and parents in the BME community about the damaging effects of shisha smoking. The campaign aimed to promote the Council’s Stop Smoking services amongst youth and adults alike. The first of the roadshows was presented exclusively to girls. The Baiter Sehat focus group highlighted the fact that an increasing amount of girls are turning to shisha smoking in their spare time. A parents group hosted the consecutive event, followed by further engagement with youth groups.
Zaheer Mahmud, Operations Manager of the Baiter Sehat campaign said,
“In our research we have found that more and more girls are visiting shisha bars. They may think that shisha smoking is not harmful. We wanted to give them the facts surrounding this habit during the course of the workshops.”
One Voice worked with local charity Lifeline in delivering the workshops, as well as with TPW, a marketing agency which has developed a strategy to highlight the harmful effects of shisha smoking.
The Baiter Sehat campaign is in partnership with Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.
Islamic Event Gives Smoking Advice
The Islamic Lifestyle Exhibition, where One Voice/BaiterSehat sponsored the Health and Well Being section, saw a display of a Lung checking system. Will Sullivan from the Lancashire Care Trust, gave visitors the opportunity to check out their lung age. Will said,
“The event gave our service a great opportunity to discuss any different lung health issues with our local community. On several occasions the conversations focused on using Ramadan as an ideal time to quit smoking, and using a lung MOT as trigger to quit.”