CANCER PROJECT TO GET SHISHA SMOKERS TO QUIT

A campaign urging water-pipe smokers to quit the dangerous habit is one of 37 projects funded under the NSW Government’s $4.5 million cancer control grants. Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the 2018 Innovation in Cancer Control Grants, delivered through the Cancer Institute NSW, will focus on communities most at risk.

“Many people don’t realise that just one shisha session of an hour may be as harmful as smoking 100-200 cigarettes due to the volume of smoke inhaled,” Mr Hazzard said.“This project will hopefully save lives by helping people better understand the dangers of all tobacco products and encourage them to quit the habit.”

Researchers from South Eastern Sydney Local Health District have been awarded about $386,000 to lead the project, in partnership with the Lebanese Muslim Association, which will focus on areas such as Bankstown, Canterbury and St George. Ahmad Malas, Executive Director of the Lebanese Muslim Association, said partnering with the NSW Government is key to changing perceptions around shisha smoking.

“The project is important as it harnesses the strengths of key organisations such as ours to deliver a strong message about the harms of water piping,” Mr Malas said. “It is critical we tackle this early on before people suffer chronic conditions that permanently impact their lives.”

Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW, Professor David Currow, said the grants program will also focus on tobacco cessation among Aboriginal communities and culturally and linguistically diverse communities. “These grants will improve health outcomes for communities most at risk and are delivered by trusted organisations with the necessary relationships and expertise.”