Shisha smoking: Potential harms and pitfalls

Shisha smoking while on laptop

Shisha smoking has increasingly become one of the most favourite ways of socialising. Boys, girls, men, women and even children relax in the puffs of shisha for a couple of hours with little awareness of the health hazards associated with shisha.

Tobacco contents

Though shisha smoking has become modernised via the use of flavoured fruits and juice, there’s still one component found in the water pipe – tobacco. A regular shisha smoker will say shisha is a safe alternative to cigarette smoking as it doesn’t burn. Do you want to hear the facts? Maybe not – research highlights that smoking a shisha for an hour is equivalent to smoking about 100 cigarettes on a go.

The tobacco contains 2X the levels of carbon monoxide and 3X the level of nicotine when compared to cigarettes. However, shisha smokers such as you and I will still run to the bars to inhale this toxic substance. To date, there really isn’t any accurate report on the amount of nicotine present in shisha because of differences in packing.

The battle to educate people on the harms of shisha is a challenging one. Smoking rates in the UK are dropping but the worrysome fact is that shisha smoking is on the rise. Is this because of the exotic smell? Or attractive waterpipes? Even the shisha smokers themselves might not know the answer.

As a matter of fact, the enticing flavours and exclusive juices mislead users into thinking they are smoking herbs rather than tobacco. This is miles away from the truth.

Potential health hazrds

There’s no doubt that shisha smoking is a health risk. It is associated with the same fatal and life-threatening illnesses as cigarettes. Remember that the pipe carries smoke directly to the inner areas of your lungs. Here are a few hazards linked to shisha:

The charcoal that is used to light up the tobacco contains toxins.
Shisha contains high levels of carbonmonoxide and nicotine (as seen above) and this would most likely result in brain malfunction or unconciousness.
Shisha contains chemicals such as cadmium,cobalt and arsenic. If there’s one disease linked with cadmium then that’s CANCER. Could be cancer of the lungs, mouth or gums.
Pregnant women shouldn’t stand the sight of shisha. Those who smoke shisha have a high chance of delivering premature babies (with breathing difficulties)
Because shisha smoking is now a recreational activity, smokers tend to smoke in groups and guess what; they share the shisha pipe. This could transmit infectuous diseases such as tuberclosis, Hepatitis A and other viral and bacterial infections.
The aluminium foil used when burning the charcoal produces carcinogenic fumes. This agains leads to cancer.
This would be more relevant to the aged. Shisha smoking increases blood pressure levels and of course the risk of a HEART ATTACK.
Smoking a shisha pipe in a non-ventilated room could result in light headaches for anyone in the room, whether smoking or not.

Because shisha was originated and has been incorporated into the Asian, North African and Middle Eastern cultures, many do not see anything wrong with smoking shisha. If cigarette smokers are in denial of the fact that it kills (even when it’s clearly labelled on the pack), then what more of the cultural shisha smoking? The easiest way therefore is to educate people on the harms of this habit.

The fact that shisha bars are opening up in all corners in the UK sends the message that shisha smoking is a good practice and health risk-free. If you’re looking to quit shisha smoking, do not bother discussing it with your other shisha smoking friends. Afterall, they love what they do. Seek medical help.

More detials on the harms of Smoking can be found on this comprensive article by the Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/health-warning-to-shisha-smokers-7565842.html

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