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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA



Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 12:00 PM
13-193

Water Pipe Smoking in the Context of Parental Attitudes and Responsibilities

Bassam Abisaab, MPH and Khodr Awad. Central Health Education Dept., Ministry of Health, P.O.Box: 848, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Objective: Explore parents attitudes and practices towards social acceptability, parental influence and responsibility, exposure and accessibility to shisha tobacco products.

Methods: Self filled questionnaire to a random sample of people 30 years of age and over.

Results: Shisha (water pipe) is an ancient tool for tobacco use. Shisha smoking nowadays crossed the social and age barriers and became the fashion of current-time smoking. The health hazards of active and side-stream shisha smoking is unquestionable. The attitudes, knowledge and practices of randomly selected 5340 adults aged 30 or more years , 70 % males, were explored to answer pressing questions on social acceptability, parental influence and responsibility, exposure and accessibility to shisha tobacco products. The questionnaire was self administered and response rate was 86%.

More than half the respondents smoked shisha at home or in public places in front of their family members, 22% of whom considered shisha smoking more socially accepted than cigarette smoking. More than 70 % of the respondents agreed that children are influenced by adults smoking behavior and that shisha smoking imposes health risks. More that 60% of respondents agreed on banning selling shisha products to young people, and 1 in 4 think that shisha smoking is less addictive that cigarette smoking. This survey shows how wrongly people perceive shisha smoking compared to cigarette smoking. This is aggravated by a social environment that encourages smoking, absence of regulations to restrict the accessibility and use of shisha products, paired with parents active participation in making this practice desirable or acceptable.