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Shisha in Westminster

Raising awareness of the risks associated with smoking shisha.

Published: 20 January 2021

Last updated: 21 January 2021

We’re working with a range of partners, to raise awareness of the health harms associated with smoking shisha so that we can all make informed choices.

Studies show that smoking shisha can harm people's health.

Health hazards

There are some misconceptions about the health impacts of shisha. People often think it’s less damaging than other types of smoking and not addictive.

This is not the case as:

  • shisha tobacco carries the same risks as other tobacco-containing products, like cigarettes
  • shisha tobacco can cause lung cancer, chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, oral and throat cancers and various respiratory diseases
  • there’s growing evidence linking shisha tobacco to a number of other cancers, heart disease and infertility
  • there’s a significant risk of carbon monoxide poisoning even using non-tobacco ‘herbal shisha’
  • it's addictive as it contains nicotine
  • using shisha pipes that haven't been cleaned well, and sharing pipes with others can spread infections, including herpes (which causes cold sores) and tuberculosis
  • there is a risk for those inhaling second-hand smoke which is particularly important when shisha is smoked at home and children are present, and for staff working at shisha smoking premises

We're continuing to develop our work in this field, and our overall approach is outlined in the Reducing the harm of shisha: towards a strategy for Westminster paper.