According to research carried out by the World Health Organisation (WHO), smoking shisha, or even inhaling the smoke in an hour session, is the equivalent of smoking between 100 and 200 cigarettes. It is this shocking fact that has seen Dubai Municipality ban pregnant women and children from shisha cafes.
Puffing away in ‘hookah cafes’ is a popular pastime in the region, but pregnant women are now being told to steer clear of any venue, regardless if they want to smoke or not.
The ban comes part of a new public-service health campaign launched by Dubai Municipality, regarding the usage of tobacco.
“This is not up for negotiation,” Marwan Al Mohammed, Director of the Public Health and Safety Department at Dubai Municipality said to Gulf News. “The rules are not limited to pregnant women, but also extends to children and toddlers. The reason behind launching the campaign was to make it absolutely clear who are, and who are not, allowed in the premises.”
The municipality also launched the campaign on Facebook with the below image and the following statement: “The Public Health & Safety Department initiates a public service campaign to warn children & pregnant women from entering cafes with creative messages hung on all the cafes’ doors in Dubai. The messages will be addressed by the fetus or children & aimed towards the parents… ‘smoking is your choice… not mine’.”
All shisha cafes must now publish warnings on their premises. Failure to do so could see them shut down. Al Mohammed has revealed that 15 cafes have already been shut down for not adhering to regulations.
If you think the new rules are too strict perhaps the below facts about the dangers of smoking (including second-hand smoking) can have on your baby will change your mind:
- Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including cyanide. These chemicals can lead to serious complications such as miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, and low birth weight.
- Environmental Protection Agency has classified second-hand smoke as a group A carcinogen, which is known to cause cancer in humans.
- Nicotine can cause contractions in the fallopian tubes, preventing an embryo from passing through. One result of this is an ectopic pregnancy.
- Due to the chemicals being imbibed when smoking, it can raise the risk of you baby being born with birth defects.
- Babies whose mother smoked in the first trimester of pregnancy are more likely to have a heart defect at birth.
- Smoking during pregnancy can have lifelong effects on your baby’s brain.