Background: Tobacco smoking is an addictive behavior with heavy risks accompanying its prolonged practice. Unfortunately, more and more people are indulging in tobacco smoking habits despite the public health education programs going on worldwide about the dangers associated with tobacco smoking behavior. This study aims to survey active shisha smokers in Birnin Kebbi Local Government Area (LGA), Kebbi State, Nigeria, on the awareness of the harmful effects associated with shisha smoking.
Methods: This study was a survey of 45 active shisha smokers in Birnin Kebbi LGA. Snowballing technique was adopted in participants’ recruitment. Study instrument was a questionnaire. Data collected was analyzed using SPSS version 20 software.
Results: Majority (32/45) of the participants were males, 16 had secondary school education, and 19 were within age range of 15 to 24 years. The majority (25/45) of them began to smoke shisha at the age of 18 years or more; also, 20 participants smoked shisha in all the 30 days prior to their participation in this study. Less than half of the study participants knew that: shisha is a stimulant (6/45), shisha smoke contains carbon monoxide (10/45), and the liquid in shisha could be replaced with alcohol (15/45). However, more than half of the participants knew that shisha contains nicotine (23/45) and tobacco (25/45). Only 16, 13, 11, 9, 5, 10, and 13 participants knew that shisha smoking could lead to cancer, cardiovascular diseases, increase in the risk of infections, reduced baby weight in pregnancy, gum and mouth disease, eye disease and blindness, and harm to non-smokers, respectively.
Conclusion: Many of the active shisha smokers surveyed in this study began smoking shisha at a young age. Also, a significant proportion of them were unaware of the health hazards associated with shisha use; hence the need to educate them and even the Nigerian public on the dangers associated with shisha use.