By Seriki Adinoyi
Against the backdrop of the high risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases associated with Shisha smoking, an Abuja leading Burger restaurant, Oliver’s Burger, and a public strategy firm, Gatefield have partnered to launch a vigorous campaign against Shisha.
According to Wikipedia, 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.
Raising the alarm during the campaign, the Chief Executive Officer of Oliver’s Burger, Oliver Naku said, “The rising popularity of Shisha smoking among young people in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory is threatening and constituting a major health risk to residents.”
He said that the company felt obliged to ensure that customers lead healthier lives, adding that “it’s good to let customers know that Shisha not only endangers them, but also the people around them.
So, to help bring attention to the health risk associated with Shasha, Oliver’s Burger restaurant crashed the price of burgers for one week.
According to Naku, the campaign tagged #PipeDown was aimed at educating people, especially smokers, of the implication of smoking the flavored tobacco product on public health and safety.
He said, “Shisha has been proven to be more harmful than regular cigarettes. Shisha smokers including second-hand smokers are at the risk of cancer and other respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. We have rebranded our trucks and food packaging to reflect the campaign.”
The restaurant also shared branded posters at their stands to buyers carrying messages such as ‘smoking shisha for one hour is as bad as smoking 100 cigarettes’ and ‘smoking shisha in public places endangers others’. The campaign’s Instagram page provides users with the relevant information and facts on the dangers of Shisha smoke.
Michael Olaniyan, Technical Resource Officer of the Washington DC-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said, “This campaign is very important because of misinformation around Shisha. People think it’s trendy and healthy because of its deceptive flavours.
“Truth is that Shisha is as bad if not more dangerous than cigarettes. According to the World Health Organisation, one-hour session of Shisha smoke is equivalent to smoking 100 cigarettes. People are also at risk of hepatitis when they share Shisha pipes.”