Sub-Saharan Africa
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'They Smoke Like Locomotive Engines:' Ghanian MP Raises Concerns About Shisha Smoking Youth

Hookah smoking - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 04.11.2023
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), water pipe tobacco smoking or shisha, hookah smoking, negatively affects human health and could be connected to respiratory, cardiovascular diseases, male infertility, mental problems and even some types of cancer. In recent years, hookah smoking has been gaining popularity among the youngsters.
Concerns about the increasing popularity of shisha smoking and the excessive use of aphrodisiacs among Ghanaian youth has been expressed by the country's Member of Parliament (MP) Samuel Nartey George, who said that the rise of the kidney-related diseases in the country could be partly attributed to the "horrible irresponsible life choices" of the Ghanian youth.

"When it comes to our healthcare and our life choices, the people who have developed kidney challenges by no fault of years but a majority of the young people reporting with these things. Horrible irresponsible life choices. They are smoking like locomotive engines," he said in an interview with local Joy News TV channel.

George cited the behavior of the young people in the country's capital Accra and the town of East Legon, who publicly display smoking "in the name of fashion."
"They've dumped cigarettes and have jumped on that killer called shisha. You drive around Accra, around East Legon and you young people putting off steam like locomotive engines all in the name of fashion," the politician noted.
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Commenting on the fact that many young people turn to smoking escaping from depression, George highlighted that tough times and despondency are "not an excuse to engage in a dangerous lifestyle."
"I keep saying to the young people of this country - our destiny is ours to shape. And so you can't sit on the back of despondency. [...] I agree that times are tough. I agree that the situation is dire. But out of these ruins, we can raise phoenixes. For me, it comes back to the decisions you make. The fact that the times are tough is not an excuse for you to kill yourself. It is not an excuse for you to engage in dangerous lifestyle behavior," he emphasized.
The WHO has revealed that water pipe smoking has a negative impact on the human health and may provoke such diseases as respiratory, cardiovascular, periodontal diseases, low birth weight, male infertility and impairment of mental health. In addition, the health organization noted that hookah smoking could cause oral, lung cancers and possibly gastric and bladder cancers.