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Shisha Owners Mobilise Against July 1 Smoking Ban in England

hisha bars," Nour said.

Murad Qureshi, member of the London Assembly and shisha smoker, conceded it was "too late" to change the law but hoped it could be implemeted with some latitude.

"I'm worried about the economic and cultural effects," he said.

Until now, the health ministry has been firm. "There will be no exemption for the shisha," a spokeswoman said.

However, Alan Johnson's nomination as health secretary in the government of Britain's new Prime Minister Gordon Brown could change things because "he is sympathetic to our problem," Benfadel said.

A group called Freedom2Choose is meanwhile expected to launch a High Court challenge Friday over the smoking ban in enclosed public places, based on the contention that it violates human right laws.

The ban which starts on Sunday covers virtually all enclosed public places including offices, factories, pubs and bars, but not outdoors or in private homes.

England will become the last part of the United Kingdom to go smoke-free: smoking was banned in enclosed public places in Scotland on March 26 last year and was outlawed in Wales on April 2 and Northern Ireland on April 30.

The health authorities are relying mainly on a World Health Organisation study from 2005 which said: "Using a water pipe to smoke tobacco poses a serious potential health hazard to smokers and others to the smoke emitted."

It found that the regular water pipe smoker is exposed to larger amounts of nicotine, carbon monoxide and certain other toxins than the typical cigarette smoker.

It points out that the force needed to pull the air through the hose allows the smoke to reach much deeper into the lungs.

Several experts said a smoker absorbs 200 times more smoke in one hour with a water pipe than with a five-minute cigarette.

Such arguments are rejected by shisha supporters who say ther
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