UAE - conference presentation, risk of shisha use severe..

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January 11, 2010 - During the third of the conference Dr Rima Nakkash, research professor in the health management and policy department of the faculty of health sciences in the American University of Beirut, said the risks from shisha (hookah (water pipe, sheesha, narghile) smoking were severe and long-term effects still unclear. “In a typical one-hour session, water-pipe smoke delivers as much tar as an entire pack of cigarettes,” she said yesterday on the third day of the Global Health and the UAE: Asia-Middle East Connections conference at UAE University in Al Ain.

Dr Nakkash, who heads a tobacco control research group in Beirut, said smoking shisha was not a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. “This is becoming a global health issue,” she said.

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Research by the World Health Organisation’s study group on tobacco product regulation conducted in 2005 found that one session of smoking a water pipe could be as dangerous as smoking up to 100 cigarettes. This finding is disturbing, she said, because shisha is seen as fashionable and more acceptable than cigarettes among women.

In her research among smokers in four Middle Eastern countries, Dr Nakkash found a propensity for shisha smoking among women and youths in particular. “Youths start smoking water pipes because it is socially acceptable and much more permissible than cigarettes, and for women, it is a fashionable trend,” she said.

Shisha smoking is socially acceptable, affordable and accessible, and people just do not know the truth about it, Dr Nakkash said, adding that enforcing bans on smoking indoors and in closed spaces and ensuring that society complied by these bans was the first step to tackling the problem.

Indeed, the law signed by Sheikh Khalifa yesterday places major restrictions on not just indoor spaces but cafes in or near residential areas. Those younger than 18 also are prohibited from partaking. (UAE - Khalifa issues federal anti-tobacco law..)

The dangers of shisha smoking, the conference participants agreed, needed to be addressed urgently.

Reference: Dangers of shisha smoking come into focus, Hala Khalaf, The National, 1/6/2010.

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January 21, 2010 at 4:16 AM

Is really Dr Rima Nakkash, the "US-AUB Ambassador of Shisha Prohibition in the Arab World" ?