Is Shisha/Hookah Harmful and Unhealthy?
Yes, shisha (also known as hookah or waterpipe) can be harmful to your health. Shisha smoking involves burning charcoal to heat up a mixture of tobacco, molasses, and flavourings, which is then filtered through water and inhaled through a hose or mouthpiece. Here are some of the potential health risks associated with shisha smoking:
- Chemical exposure: Shisha smoke contains many of the same harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke, such as carbon monoxide, tar, heavy metals, and carcinogens. In fact, a single shisha session can expose the user to more smoke and toxic chemicals than a single cigarette.
- Health risks: Shisha smoking has been linked to a number of health risks, including lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory problems, and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and hepatitis.
- Increased risk of cancer: Shisha smoking can increase the risk of developing cancers of the lungs, mouth, throat, and bladder.
- Respiratory problems: Shisha smoking can cause respiratory problems such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma.
- Cardiovascular problems: Shisha smoking can increase heart rate and blood pressure, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Infectious diseases: Sharing the same mouthpiece or hose during shisha smoking can increase the risk of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, and herpes.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning: Burning charcoal releases carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that can be harmful when inhaled in high amounts.
- Pregnancy complications: Shisha use during pregnancy can increase the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and stillbirth.
- Secondhand smoke: Shisha smoking also exposes others to secondhand smoke, which can be just as harmful as smoking directly.
- Addiction risk: Shisha smoking can be addictive due to the presence of nicotine in the tobacco used.
It’s important to note that shisha smoking can be just as harmful, if not more harmful, than cigarette smoking, despite the mistaken belief that it is less harmful due to water use in the pipe. Quitting shisha smoking can greatly reduce the health risks associated with it. Seeking support from healthcare professionals and support groups can be helpful in quitting.