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Shisha bars to be banned

The government soon will announced a complete ban on commercial use of shisha to protect the country’s youth, according to the Pakistan Observer.

Shisha sales and hookah use in bars, cafes and lounges would cease. Shisha sales would be banned in bazars, the Observer said. Authority for the expected ban from the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination is contained in the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-smokers Health Ordinance of 2002, the newspaper said on its website.

e-cigarettes carry several health risks: expert

There are several health risks associated with e-cigarettes and portraying them as safe is ‘extremely irresponsible and potentially dangerous,’ a Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) official has warned.

“Studies into the health risks posed by using electronic cigarettes, which are illegal in Qatar, are now beginning to be published,” said Dr Ziyad Mahfoud, associate professor, Healthcare Policy and Research at WCM-Q at the latest instalment of WCM-Q’s ‘Ask the Expert Series.’

“E-cigarettes are quite new and until recently there had not been much research into them, but now there have been few good quality studies and we are gaining some understanding of the health risks they carry,” he pointed out.

“Firstly, the production of the devices and the liquid that is vaporised and inhaled is poorly regulated. A user cannot be sure of what chemicals they are actually inhaling, and it is never recommended to introduce unknown, potentially harmful substances into the body.

“Secondly, e-cigarettes deliver nicotine, which is highly addictive, and research indicates that young people who use e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking normal cigarettes, which we know can have catastrophic negative effects on health, including increased risk of respiratory disease, heart disease and many forms of cancer.

Portraying e-cigarettes as safe is therefore extremely irresponsible and potentially dangerous.”

Dr Mahfoud said that a few studies have shown that smoking e-cigarettes can reduce the normal consumption of regular cigarettes among smokers, but on the other hand marketing them as a safe alternative has led to some ex-smokers picking up the habit again.

“Until there are more regulations on the manufacturing of e-cigarettes and more studies about its health hazards, nicotine gum, nicotine patches, medications and cognitive behavioural therapy provide safer ways to reduce nicotine dependency and give up smoking.”

“A common misperception of shisha is that because the tobacco is fruit-flavoured, it is somehow healthier than normal tobacco. This is wrong: it is just normal tobacco that is mixed with molasses and other additives. It is harmful to health. Smoking shisha has been linked to respiratory, cardiovascular and periodontal diseases and many forms of cancer. It is addictive and also harmful to pregnant women and their foetuses.

“It is also completely untrue that the water in the shisha pipe filters out toxins. Scientific studies have proven that shisha smoke contains similar levels of tar and other hazardous chemicals as cigarette smoke does, and in some cases much higher levels.”

Full ban on shisha, emerging tobacco products in S’pore from Aug 1

SINGAPORE — The ban on shisha will kick in on Monday (Aug 1) after the end of a grace period.

Licensed tobacco importers and retailers who import or sell shisha tobacco will be prohibited from importing, wholesaling or selling tobacco, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Health Sciences Authority announced in a joint statement on Thursday (July 28).

Although it was banned since Nov 28, 2014, shisha tobacco importers and retailers were given a grace period until July 31, 2016 to allow them to restructure their businesses and deplete their existing stock.

The ban on shisha tobacco is part of a larger suite of measures to reduce tobacco consumption.

Also coming into force on Monday is the second phase of the ban on on emerging tobacco products available in Singapore, including nasal snuff, oral snuff, gutkha, kaini and zarda.

In June last year, the MOH announced the first phase of the ban on emerging tobacco products not already available in Singapore. The ban was put into effect on Dec 15, 2015, and prohibited products such as smokeless cigars, dissolvable tobacco or nicotine, topically applied tobacco, and any solution with tobacco or nicotine that could be used with e-cigarettes.

All licensed tobacco importers, wholesalers and retailers will therefore be prohibited from importing, wholesaling or retailing all forms of emerging tobacco products.

Anyone who flouts the bans on emerging smoking products and shisha could be jailed up to six months and/or fined up to S$10,000. Those with a prior conviction could be jailed up to 12 months and/or fined up to S$20,000.

As part of the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act (TCASA), there will also be a ban on the point-of-sale display of tobacco products. This will take effect on Aug 1, 2017 as retailers have a one-year grace period.

The existing ban on advertisements for tobacco products will also be extended to cover advertising for e-cigarettes and similar products. The ban on advertising for tobacco products, e-cigarettes and similar products will include advertisements published electronically. This covers advertisements and sales promotions originating from Singapore and those from outside of Singapore that can be accessed by people in Singapore.

Customer loyalty programmes and promotional schemes involving tobacco products are also not allowed.

Members of the public with information on retailers and importers contravening the ban may call the authorities’ reporting line at 6684-2036 or 6884-2037 during office hours.

Shisha even riskier than cigarettes – Letters to the Editor

I agree with the views of Seki Chan (“Don’t overlook harm of shisha smoking”, January 29).

Besides the statistics provided by Ms Chan, shisha [or hookah] smoking has other harmful health effects.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, smoking shisha is actually more harmful than smoking a cigarette. According to the CDC, the amount of smoke inhaled during a typical shisha session is about 90,000 millilitres, compared with 500ml to 600ml inhaled when smoking a cigarette.

Furthermore, according to the American Lung Association, a study of shisha smoking found that nicotine and cotinine increased up to 250 per cent and 120 per cent respectively after a typical 40- to 45-minute smoking session.

Another potential problem is that commonly used heat sources for burning the tobacco, such as wood or charcoal, are likely to increase the health risks from shisha use.
This is because when they are burned on their own these heat sources release high levels of potentially dangerous chemicals, such as carbon monoxide and metals.

Furthermore, the social aspect of shisha smoking with shared mouthpieces may put many users at risk of contracting infectious diseases and viruses, such as tuberculosis, hepatitis and herpes. Even if the shisha smoke is second-hand, it is potentially dangerous because it contains smoke from the tobacco and from the heat source used to burn the tobacco. There are also harmful effects for pregnant women.

Research has also shown that teenagers who have smoked shisha before are more likely to become cigarette smokers.

I agree with Ms Chan that more people should be made aware of the harmful effects of shisha smoking.

Secondary schools in Hong Kong need to make students aware of the risks so they are not tempted to try out something that is becoming more popular in bars in the city. This should be part of general health education in these schools.

Eunice Li Dan-yue, Singapore

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Don’t overlook harm of shisha smoking – Letters to the editor

I refer to the article, “Tar in one hookah session as much as you get from smoking 25 cigarettes [5]” (January 15). Scientists have found that smoking hookah, also known as shisha, delivers approximately 125 times the smoke, 25 times the tar, 2.5 times the nicotine and 10 times the carbon monoxide compared with a single cigarette.

It seems clear that hookah smokers are exposed to more harm than they realise. Perhaps many do not care, but Hong Kong should do something to prevent hookah from becoming a sort of trend, especially among teenagers, who are always curious.

There are several shisha bars in Hong Kong. I think these shops should be banned.

Hookah should be treated as seriously as cigarettes, and more people should be made aware of its harm.

Seki Chan, Tseung Kwan O
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Shisha lounge fined £14,000 after owner caught allowing smoking in Cricklewood store

13 Jan 2015

John Shammas

A shisha lounge has been slapped with a £14,000 fine after Brent Council caught the owner allowing smoking in an enclosed space.

Hassan El-Zein, 26, owner of Beirut Gardens in Cricklewood Broadway, was also found not displaying health and under-age warnings on tobacco packing and shisha pipes.

He failed to appear at Willesden Magistrates’ Court on January 6, but El-Zein was convicted and  was given a total of £8,140 in fines, £120 victim surcharge and £2,185 in costs to the council.

The company Beirut Gardens Limited was also fined £2,660, £100 victim surcharge and £500 in cost to the council.

As El-Zein was not in court the magistrates made a collection order, meaning that if the he does not pay within 28 days, bailiffs may be sent to his home and business.

The magistrate said: “The defendant did not offer any explanation in his defence and the council officers gave clear evidence and proved beyond reasonable doubt that all the offences took place.”

The case was brought about by Brent Council who were carrying out a routine inspection at Beirut Gardens in April.

Councillor George Crane, Lead Member for Environment at Brent Council, said: “The high fine reflects the seriousness of the offence that has been committed.

“Smoking in enclosed places damages the health of staff and non-smoking customers and supplying tobacco products without health and age warnings is irresponsible and illegal.

“I hope this high fine will deter other businesses from committing similar offences.

“We want to create a safe borough for people that live or work in  Brent and enforcing the law around the smoking ban is a part of that.”