Shisha smoking, also called hookah, narghile, waterpipe, or hubble bubble smoking is a way of smoking tobacco, sometimes mixed with fruit or molasses sugar, through a bowl and hose or tube. The tube ends in a mouthpiece from which the smoker inhales the smoke from the substances being burnt into their lungs.
It is traditionally used by people from Middle Eastern or Asian community groups – however, this new age smoking orientation is increasingly becoming popular among Ghanaian youth in Ghana in public places like pubs, discotheques, clubs, restaurants, brothels, and even at birthday parties.
Public Smoking Banned In Ghana
Ghana banned public smoking as far back as 2012. Part Six (6) of the Public Health Act 2012 was renewed to protect the people against the dangerous effects of tobacco.
“A person shall not smoke tobacco or a tobacco product or hold a lighted tobacco product in an enclosed or indoor area of a work place, or any other public place except in a designated area”, as stated by section 58 of the Public Health Act,2012,Act 851.
The Act also mentioned public places to include but not limited to the following places; “All workplaces like the factories, and offices, restaurants, pubs, places where children are cared for, health and educational institutions, cinemas, shopping malls, markets, recreational areas, stadia, public transport vehicles, transport terminals and places of collective use.”
All owners of places where smoking is prohibited are expected to clearly post signs that shows a ‘no smoking’ area. People who tend to be defiant, by not heeding to this legal requirement would be sanctioned and also be made to pay fines or imprisoned.
Shisha Smoking Increasing Among Ghanaian Youth
Shisha smoking is increasing among the Ghanaian youth. It has become a vogue that if you attend some events in public places (pubs, birthday parties or restaurants) and you don’t partake, you would be seen as the odd one out.
Not only is shisha smoking large among male smokers – many females have joined the bandwagon. Tertiary students and/ or graduates, are identifiable devotees of shisha smoking. The forge is on, and the patronage is growing by the day.
Shisha smoking is also seen in some Ghanaian (and Nigerian) music videos, movies, and foreign telenovelas shown on TV channels.
The influence, one can conclude, could be from the aforementioned contents/mediums – and also, through interpersonal oral recommendations.
How Harmful Is Shisha Smoking?
Shisha smoking is confirmed by several medical journals and health experts to be of dire harmful effect to the smoker as well as second-hand smokers. Traditionally, shisha tobacco contains cigarette tobacco, so like cigarettes, it contains nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide and heavy metals, such as arsenic and lead.
As a result, shisha smokers are at risk of the same kinds of diseases as cigarette smokers, such as: heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease and problems during pregnancy. In one puff of shisha, the smoker inhales the same amount of smoke as you’d get from a smoking a whole cigarette.
The average shisha-smoking session lasts an hour and research has shown that in this time, one can inhale the same amount of smoke as from more than 100 cigarettes. Shisha smoking is addictive too. The lives of the productive age group of Ghana is at stake!
The Editorial team at Presspeep.com, by this publication, is calling on the Ministry of Health to begin a national sensitization or awareness on the harmful effects of shisha and deter would-become subscribers. The Food and Drugs Authority, should also, start cracking the whip on those public smokers of shisha. We pray this write-up reaches their quarters. The silence is too loud in this regard!