Shisha smoking trend is heating up in Redbridge
- Credit: Archant
The number of smokers might be falling across the UK but a smoking hot trend is taking Redbridge by storm – shisha.
Popular in the Middle East and South Asia, shisha is flavoured tobacco usually smoked with a hookah pipe.
The tobacco is vapourised rather than burnt and passes through water before being inhaled.
There are already shisha bars in Ilford Town Centre and Goodmayes, with the most recent, the Arabian Lounge, in High Road, Ilford, opening in March.
Next week, Gants Hill will get its own café when Canopy, in Beehive Lane, opens on Monday.
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There will be a shop selling vintage clothes, non-alcoholic “mocktails” and offering a smoking area.
Free wi-fi is also planned for customers with opening hours from 3-11pm seven days a week.
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Manager Shabibul Mohammed said shisha is becoming a growing trend in Redbridge.
He added: “It’s because a lot of Asians don’t drink.
“Where else do young non-drinkers go of they want to socialise with friends?
“You can get a coffee but it runs out in a few minutes.”
Smoking, including shisha, is illegal for under 18s and Mr Mohammed said only people aged 21 and over will be admitted, with ID checks on the door.
But some residents and businesses in the area are concerned about Canopy.
A couple who live behind the bar started a petition against the smoking area, in a former storage area behind the shop.
Jaymin and Trupti Patel, of Eastern Avenue, said they had 50 signatures from nearby residents and businesses worried about noise and anti-social behaviour.
Mr Patel, 44, said: “It’s going to affect my life and all the smoke isn’t right for my children. They are 10 and 13 and their bedrooms are on the back of the house.
“It just seems the wrong place to put it in a residential area.”
The petition has been submitted to the council.
n What do you think of shisa cafes? Let us know on our community forum streelife.com, or tweet us @IlfordRecorder