Putting down the pipe: The truth about shisha

Author: Pawan Dhande


Barnet Council is leading the way and running a campaign across the borough to educate young people about the health implications of smoking shisha.

The campaign, primarily aimed at young people aged 16 to 24, is raising awareness about the health impacts of smoking shisha, also known as hookah, narghile, waterpipe or hubble bubble smoking, at a time when residents are making their New Year resolutions to be healthier.

The council is busting common myths around shisha smoking, which is often incorrectly perceived to be healthier than smoking cigarettes. A study by Action on Smoking and Health shows that smoking shisha using a water pipe can expose the user to more toxic chemicals and 56 times more smoke than cigarettes (over a 45 minute period). Shisha also contains nicotine which can be addictive.

Bus shelter panels, social media posts, school workshops, interviews with registered GPs and digital media are some of the methods the council is using to engage with young people. In addition, Barnet Council has launched an online survey which seeks to establish residents’ attitudes towards shisha smoking and find out what is understood already in terms of its health impacts. For each completed survey, residents can enter a prize draw to win a month’s free membership for one of the borough’s GLL gyms with full access to swimming and gym facilities, as well as classes.

Councillor Helena Hart, Chairman of Barnet Council’s Health and Wellbeing board, said: “It is so important that we dispel all of the myths associated with smoking shisha, and our campaign aims to do just that. I would encourage all Barnet residents to take part in the online questionnaire and let us know their thoughts about shisha smoking.”

Do you know the health risks around smoking Shisha? Visit Barnet Council’s website ( for more myth-busting facts.