Oxford,
24
February
2020
|
12:28
Europe/London

Warning over dangers of smoking shisha as Trading Standards seize suspected smuggled tobacco

A warning over the dangers of smoking shisha has been issued after suspected smuggled goods were seized from premises in Oxford.

Shisha smoking is popular in Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern, and North African communities, especially among young people and it is becoming increasingly popular in Oxford with the city now home to several bars offering it.

In a joint operation with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and Oxford City Council Environmental Health and Licensing, Oxfordshire County Council Trading Standards visited seven premises in Oxford.

Illegal tobacco was seized from three premises, all of which had been previously visited in August and written advice issued with follow-up meetings to ensure the legal requirements were understood.

Environmental Health detected smoking in substantially enclosed parts of the building in several premises and issued a prohibition notice to one business due to concerns regarding the burning of coals with lack of ventilation.

Dr Mohammed Jawad, a Research Fellow at Imperial College London, said that there are many misconceptions about shisha that has led to a surge in use among children in UK’s major cities.

Dr Jawad said: “Many people falsely believe that the smoke is filtered by water in the pipe, or that fruit used to flavour shisha somehow makes it less harmful than cigarettes. The truth is that all the research done on shisha shows one thing: it is as bad for you as cigarettes.”

Smoking shisha usually involves burning charcoal to heat up specially prepared shisha tobacco which is commonly flavoured. When the tobacco is heated up, it produces smoke. The smoke bubbles through a bowl of water or other liquid and into a long hose-like tube or pipe. Smoke is inhaled through a mouthpiece fitted to the end of the pipe.

Councillor Judith Heathcoat, the County Council’s cabinet member for Community Safety, said: “In a typical shisha session of about one-hour, a shisha smoker can inhale the same amount of toxins as a cigarette smoker consuming over 100 cigarettes. Like cigarette smoking, these toxins put shisha smokers at risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases, cancers, nicotine addiction, and other health effects”.

Trading Standards have launched formal investigations against three businesses. Premises possessing smuggled shisha tobacco for supply could lose their alcohol licence and face unlimited fines.

Anyone with information about the illegal sale of any tobacco including shisha should contact:

0300 999 6 999

or report it anonymously via the website www.stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk

 

Update 04 March 2020: More suspected smuggled shisha tobacco seized in Oxford

Following news coverage of the suspected smuggled goods being seized, Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards team received an anonymous tip-off via the Illegal Tobacco Hotline. This resulted in a visit to an Oxford retailer where over 20kg of suspected smuggled shisha tobacco was seized.

The tobacco did not carry the statutory graphic or text warnings. Like cigarette smoking, the toxins in shisha tobacco put waterpipe smokers at risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases, cancers, nicotine addiction, and other health effects.

Anyone with information about the illegal sale of any tobacco including shisha should contact:

0300 999 6 999

or report it anonymously via the website www.stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk