The general perception of water pipe smoking is that it’s harmless and even suitable for children according to some parents. However, recent studies have shown that there are plenty health risks hidden in this traditional smoking method, which should label this habit as dangerous as usual cigarette consumption. Water pipe smoking, in various cultures, is also called hookah, narghile, shisha, qalyan, sheesha, hubbly bubbly, hubble-dubble and many other names that stand for one and the same thing.
Water Pipe Smoking Principle
In brief, a hookah is a water pipe with a smoke chamber, attached to a bowl, a pipe and a hose. The smoker uses the pipe to draw air, via the hose. Tobacco of different flavors is placed in the head of the shisha. Just above it on a folia a charcoal is lid. When the smoker inhales, air passes through the charcoal, the tobacco head and ends-up in the smoke chamber. Here, in the vase, flavored smoke is filtered and cooled down with the help of water before it reaches the inhalers lungs.
Hookah Smoking Health Risks
– Studies show that shisha smoking passes similar amounts of nicotine as regular cigarette smoking, thus tobacco addiction risk is very high.
– Hookah smoke is also dangerous for passive smokers in a similar way as a secondhand smoker is affected by cigarette smoke.
– Shisha smokers are exposed to bigger levels of carbon monoxide and smoke as normal cigarette smokers, because water pipe smoking sessions are usually 60 minutes long and are performed in groups.
– It has been proven that the hookah smoke isn’t properly filtered by water and comes with important levels of: cancer causing chemicals, tar, volatile aldehydes, heavy metals and carbon monoxide.
– Water pipe smoking can also lead to serious health diseases like: lung cancer, oral cancer, heart problems and other fatal illnesses.
Shisha Smoking Facts
Many youngster and their parents label water pipe smoking as ‘safe’, without being aware of the real health risks. According to US studies this has led to a significant rise of hookah smokers both in the United States and Europe. Some teenagers smoke hookah even while studying, figures showing that 40% of college students have already smoked shisha, with 20% of them at least once in the past month, according to MedicalNewsToday.com.
More alarming is the fact that water pipe smoking can prove itself more addictive than normal cigarette smoking, because shisha is usually done in groups. Often addicts will try to convince their friends to become hookah smokers. For teenagers seeking coolness this could prove itself an irresistible temptation. They might become water pipe consumers just for the sake of belonging to a certain group of friends.
This is why awareness when it comes to the hookah smoking health risks should be risen in schools, colleges and other educational environments. The claim that water pipe smoking is labeled ‘safe’, is sadly, only a myth!