The Council is warning students of the dangers of shisha, includ- ing gum disease and oral herpes.
A report on the growing popu- larity of the legal drug states that there has been “an increase in the number of shisha bars” posing “a real risk to public health.”
Zain Ulbaidin who works at popular shisha bar Cabin 164 said “95 per cent of our cus- tomers are students.” He rejected the health implications, saying: “I’ve been smoking shisha for years…There’s nothing wrong with it.”
However, Mr Ulbaidin conceded that tobacco free shisha can cause a drop in blood pressure if smoked on an empty stom-ach. When asked about students’ understanding, he commented: “Most of them already know the risks.”
The manager of Hyde Park’s Oranaise Café said he would “defend [shisha] absolutely,” although accepts “it does attract a lot of students and there’s a lot of problems.” He explained that the café stopped serving tobacco shisha after fellow businesses experienced legal issues with indoor smoking. Denn said: “I don’t want to go down that line.”
Also called ‘hookah’ or ‘waterpipe’, shisha involves flavoured tobacco which smokers inhale through a water chamber.
The World Health Organisation estimates that a one hour shisha session is equivalent to smoking 100 cigarettes. Side effects include increased risk of gum disease, oral herpes caused by sharing pipes and mouth, throat and lung cancer.
A PhD student told LS: “My father had oesophageal cancer caused by smoking…I think it’s a good idea to avoid that kind of risk entirely.”
A first year Languages student commented: “I was completely unaware of the risks; no-one ever mentions them.” However, she added: “I’d still do it if I was out with friends.”
The British Heart Foundation found that the number of UK shisha bars has risen by 210 per cent within the last five years.