News item

Niche tobacco awareness at Touchstone Support Centre

Niche tobacco products such as Gutkha, Zarda or Paan, Nasal snuff, Shisha, Biri or Beedi cigarettes have been in existence for hundreds of years among populations in South America and Southeast Asia. Over time, they have gained popularity throughout the world. However, many people don't realise that these products contain tobacco and just like smoking cigarettes, they are addictive and present serious health risks.

A sensation which has rapidly grown in popularity is the smoking of “Shisha” or the waterpipe. It has become a social occasion like going to the movies or out for a meal. Parents even allow young children to participate as they think it is a safe alternative to cigarette smoking. In fact one full shisha session can produce the same amount of smoke as up to 200 cigarettes as well as cause a number of oral cancers.

To raise awareness of the impact of using these tobacco products, and their health risks, West Yorkshire Trading Standards are working alongside Leeds City Council and Leeds Community Healthcare to support the community to make informed health choices about the use of such products.

An officer from West Yorkshire Trading Standards was at the Touchstone Support Centre in Harehills, Leeds to raise awareness of the harmful effects of niche tobacco.

Councillor Bill Urry, of the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Committee, said: “It is essential that people are informed of the health risks associated with the use of these products. Some people are under the impression that these products are a safer alternative to cigarette smoking, so it’s very important to hold these sessions to let people know that they are not harmless, but can lead to serious illness.”

Michael Richards, Support Worker at Touchstone Support Services wanted the awareness session as they work with a diverse community who have come across the wide range of tobacco products available but had little awareness about the risks associated with them. 

If you would like more information about specific tobacco products you can log on to

If you would like more information or would like us to deliver training sessions or workshops regarding Niche Tobacco please contact Babul Hussain at Trading Standards on 0113 393 9816 or

Anyone wanting information on support to stop tobacco use should contact Leeds NHS Stop Smoking Service on 0800 169 4219.

DATE: 26 July 2013