INTRODUCTION Shisha which was formally popular mostly in the Eastern Mediterranean region is now gaining popularity globally and has become a trending tobacco product in Nigeria. The increasing popularity of shisha is possibly driven by the attractive flavours and the misperception that it is safer than traditional cigarettes. Since the media plays a significant influence on public awareness, perception and understanding of various issues, this study sought to explore the coverage of shisha use by five national newspapers in Nigeria. METHODS Five newspapers were selected based on their website traffic (online readership). The software NVIVO 12 was used to organise the content of the articles into themes. RESULTS Between 2014 and 2018, we found 30 relevant publications about shisha. Some newspaper articles reported that shisha smoking was gaining popularity among youths, especially in tertiary institutions across the country. Similarly, some misconceptions about the safety of smoking shisha among shisha users was reported. Addiction to shisha was also reported as being so common that many shisha users were no longer satisfied with just visiting nightclubs and shisha cafes but now own the shisha paraphernalia. There were also reports that the tobacco in shisha was in some instances being replaced or mixed with other hard drugs like marijuana. Subtle advertisement of shisha lounges, which is a violation of the Nigeria National Tobacco Control Act, was also observed. CONCLUSIONS There is a need for increased sensitization of the public through the media on the dangers of shisha smoking and other tobacco product use. There is also a need for a national survey to determine the prevalence of shisha use in Nigeria.
- Newspaper report