New ‘shisha no thanks’ campaign encourages communities to know the harms of shisha smoking

The state’s Chief Cancer Officer today launched the new campaign ‘Shisha No Thanks’ urging communities to be aware of the harms of smoking shisha, also known as water-pipe.

Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW, Professor David Currow said it was important for people to understand smoking shisha is as dangerous to a person’s health as smoking cigarettes.

“A person who smokes shisha is at risk of the same health problems that a person who smokes cigarettes faces, including cancer and respiratory illness. A typical 45 minute long waterpipe smoking session involves inhaling as much smoke as 100 cigarettes.

Even if the shisha does not contain tobacco, it is not safe to smoke. While these products, also called ‘herbal shisha’, may not contain the nicotine in tobacco, the smoke contains highly toxic substances. The addition of fruit flavouring and sweeteners does not reduce the harmful effects of the smoke.

Smoking remains the largest cause of preventable death and disease in NSW.

The Multicultural Health Service of the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District were awarded a grant by the Cancer Institute NSW to the value of $386,000 last year to lead a community-based project in Sydney, in partnership with the Lebanese Muslim Association urging shisha smokers to be aware of the harms of shisha. The initiative has been collaboration with the Sydney and South Western Sydney Local Health Districts, the NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service (MHCS) and the South Eastern Sydney Research Collaboration Hub, University of NSW.

Lisa Woodland, Manager, Priority Populations and Director, NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service said the project will include a number of strategies aimed at young people, their friends, family and social networks, particularly from the Arabic speaking community, through a social media campaign, information sessions and culturally appropriate community resources and social media and community engagement activities.

“We have co-designed with young people relevant resources including a ‘Shisha No Thanks’ video and a number of factsheets in English and Arabic that will help raise awareness about the health effects of shisha smoking,” added Ms Woodland.

“Tobacco is harmful and addictive no matter how you smoke it. It may seem that that shisha is not as bad for you as cigarettes because the tobacco is flavoured and passed through water, but this simply isn’t true.”

Ahmad Malas, Operations Director of the Lebanese Muslim Association, joined the call for people to avoid all forms of tobacco.

“Contrary to centuries-old perceptions, shisha is just as harmful as cigarettes. The fruity taste only masks the tobacco and does not make it a healthier alternative to cigarettes. Even though shisha has become socially accepted, people don’t need it to have a good time,” Mr Malas said.

People who smoke shisha can get support to quit by calling the Quitline on 13 7848 or visiting

Nominations for the 2019 Caddyshack Awards now open!

The Caddyshack Project presents an annual awards program to recognise and acknowledge individuals and services within the Illawarra and Shoalhaven that are making a significant contribution to the sexual health and well-being of our communities.

The categories are:

Individual Award – This award recognises the achievement by an individual working within the Health or Community Services sector in the promotion of sexual health.

Service Award – This award recognises the achievement by a service in promoting sexual health within their service, or broader community.

Project Award- This award recognises a project designed and implemented by an individual or a service aiming to improve the sexual health and well-being of individuals or communities.

The CaddyShack Innovators Encouragement Award – This award recognises individuals or services who have developed a new or innovative project or activity to promote sexual health within their service, to clients or the community. In particular the individual or service may be new in the field, or have overcome individual or organisational barriers to progress sexual health.

Please submit the attached form to make a nomination. Closes Friday 25th October 2019.

Save the Date

Painting by Lorraine Brown and Narelle Thomas at Coomaditchie United Aboriginal Corporation

7 and 8 May 2020

The GRANGE GOLF COURSE – Kembla Grange

Put these dates in your diary NOW!

WHO SHOULD ATTEND – Staff and Management from:

  • Early Childhood Services
  • Family Support Services
  • Education

We have a responsibility in our services to create and develop environments that foster higher levels of knowledge and pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions.

We can support our children and families to find meaningful ways to increase respect, reduce prejudice and to strengthen relationships with the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

This conference will support staff in a practical way to:

  • Develop and implement a Reconciliation Action Plan within their service
  • Determine what you do well and the areas where you may need support
  • Reflect closely on your own values and stereotypes that may be impeding your progress
  • Develop an understanding of cultural awareness, cultural competence and cultural safety and their importance for Aboriginal families accessing your service
  • Connect with our local Aboriginal Elders
  • Develop networks and strong supports to assist you on your reconciliation journey

PLACES ARE LIMITED to ensure you are supported throughout the conference. For further information or to register your interest, please contact:

Tracey Kirk-Downey, Community Development Worker – Children & Family Services Wollongong City Council on 02 4227 7158 or email