Hookah: Australia Melbourne shisha bars

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Melbourne shisha bars update…

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Health concerns over growing trend of Melbourne shisha bars

January 22, 2013
Julia Irwin, Northcote Leader

HEALTH concerns have prompted the State Government to consider legislating against shisha bars to snuff out the growing trend.

The bars, where patrons share fruit-flavoured tobacco through a hookah an elaborate water pipe are the latest fad in Melbourne’s inner north, but Victoria’s Coalition Government last week indicated it could nip the craze in the bud.

Health Minister David Davis’ spokesman Brett Barton said the government would consider closing a “regulatory loophole”, which allows shisha bars to operate unregulated under the Tobacco Act.

Australian Medical Association Victoria president Dr Stephen Parnis said he shared Mr Davis’ concerns about the negative health impacts, calling for an urgent education campaign about the dangers of using the pipes.

“People who smoke these are just as susceptible to heart disease, emphysema, cancer of the throat, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis and vascular disease as people who smoke cigarettes or cigars,” he said.

But Northcote’s Ancient Memories shisha bar owner Shahin Shahin said alcohol was far more harmful than smoking the fruit-flavoured tobacco, which was much lower in tar and other toxins than cigarettes or cigars.

“If the government wants to stop shisha bars, it should also close bars and places like Crown Casino,” Mr Shahin said.

“Smoking shisha is a very sociable thing to do in a multicultural city like Melbourne.”

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