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Leicester Mercury, UK: Shisha dangers in the spotlight



Leicester Mercury
Sunday, February 10, 2013

A charity is hoping to win funding for a scheme to warn of the dangers of shisha smoking among young people and students in the city.

Members of Horn Concern, who work mainly in the St Matthew's area of the city and with the Somali community, have come up with a plan to raise awareness and educate young people about shisha and how it can lead to health problems such as lung disease.

They are also hoping to hold monthly workshops if they are successful in winning cash from the Leicester City clinical commissioning group (CCG)

Horn Concern is one of a number of groups bidding for pots of cash from £500 to £5,000 from the CCG to fund schemes to prevent and manage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the lung disease known as COPD.

Mohammed Artan, from Horn Concern, said: "So many of the youngsters don't realise the dangers of shisha smoking.

"They don't believe that it can be addictive and that it can lead to lots of long-term health problems. We estimate it will cost between £3,000 to £4,000 to run the scheme, initially for a year."

Other ideas for campaigns have come from college students looking at a scheme to get students and teachers together to quit smoking.

A group of health professionals have also come up with projects to support people already suffering from COPD and there are a number of ideas for producing patient information, education and prevention through workshops.

People from the deaf, mental health and elderly communities have also come forward with ideas.

Schemes which are shortlisted will be put to a public vote at a special event at the Peepul Centre, Orchardson Avenue, Leicester, on Saturday, March 2.

The CCG has earmarked a total of £80,000 for schemes with £20,000 each for the east, west and south areas of the city respectively and an additional £20,000 for city-wide projects.

If the idea is a success it could be extended to tackle other conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

Professor Azhar Farooqi, chairman of the Leicester City clinical commissioning group and a Highfields GP, said: "We are really excited about the number of applications we have received for the project.

"They are all of such a high standard and people are really getting into the spirit and thinking up fantastic new ways to prevent and manage lung disease in their community. It is encouraging to see ideas coming from smaller diverse groups in the city, too.

"There is still time for people to get their ideas to us over."

The deadline for getting in applications is Monday.

Applicants will be notified by Friday, February 22, if they have been successful in getting through to the voting stage.



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