The rising popularity of Shisha smoking among young people in Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital territory is alarming and constituting a major health risk to residents.
To help bring attention to this issue, Abuja’s leading Burger restaurant, Oliver’s Burger on Friday in partnership with public strategy firm, Gatefield, launched a campaign #PipeDown to inform young people about the health risks associated with Shisha by crashing the price of Burgers for one week.
The #PipeDown campaign aims to educate people especially smokers of the flavored tobacco product about the implications of the behavior on public health and safety.
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.
Oliver’s Burger rebranded its 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 @pipedownNG, provides users with the relevant information and facts on the dangers of Shisha smoke.
Oliver Naku, the CEO of the Burger restaurant said that the company felt obliged to ensure that customers lead healthier lives. He stated “Its good to let customers know that this not only endangers them, but the people who around them.”
Maryam Hassan, one of the customers at the launch event said: “I have never really been a shisha smoker,but I didn’t know it was this dangerous. This campaign will help spread awareness on this issue because a lot of people are ignorant of the dangers of shisha ” Michael Olaniyan, the Technical Resource Officer of the Washington DC based Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, said “”This campaign is very important…There is a lot 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.”
Recall that the Nigerian Tobacco Control Act 2015 and recently approved regulations prohibit the smoking of cigarettes in public places. However, this law is yet to be fully implemented as Shisha smoking in public places is still common in many public places in Abuja.