Shisha is 100 times worse than cigarettes

  • Share via facebook
  • Tweet this
  • Bookmark and Share

Smoking tobacco using the traditional hookah waterpipe has been part of the fabric of life in the Middle East for centuries.

Its documented evolution stretches back to 16 th century India where one historian recorded that the waterpipe was invented by a physician during the reign of Emperor Akbar as a less harmful method of tobacco use.

The physician, Hakim Abul Fath, suggested that "tobacco smoke should be first passed through a small receptacle of water so that it would be rendered harmless."

So began a myth that shisha smoking is far less dangerous to health than cigarette and pipe smoking.

This week, the World Health Organisation has quashed that myth, suggesting that smoking a hookah is more dangerous than smoking cigarettes. It also said that more research is needed into the link between the use of the waterpipe and several fatal illnesses.

An advisory note from the WHO says that smoking a hookah may expose the smoker to more smoke over a longer period of time than occurs when smoking cigarettes.

Because smoking a hookah may take up to 80 minutes, the report suggests that the smoker is subjecting himself to as much smoke as somebody dragging on 100 cigarettes.

And the water does not strip out all toxic substances. Some of the nicotine is absorbed, but this leads to people smoking for longer in order to experience the effects of the drug, and therefore inhaling more smoke containing carbon monoxide, heavy metals and other toxic compounds, which leads to heart and respiratory problems.

Related:
Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: sapphiraa

I have to agree though, that hookah is no where NEAR as addicting as cigarettes. I haven't been able to afford any shisha until now due to financial troubles and picked up smoking again. I had an hour or so session last night and the whole time through (as well as after) I felt like I still needed a cigarette.

Another note: WHERE ARE THE NUMBERS TO SUPPORT SUCH LUDICROUS CLAIMS?! I think their basing it off the fact there's so much more smoke than any actual readings obtained through testing.

Posted by: Occasional smoker

I would like to see more details on that research, how hot was the tobacco? What was the tobacco to charcoal ratio in their experiment? These are all major factors when measuring the amount and type of toxins someone might be inhaling. Was it typical usage, or an exaggerated use of charcoal? I am not saying smoking is good for you, but I think the WHO may have not performed an accurate test. When I have tried many times to inhale and smoke a cigarette, I end up coughing up or choking and I have tried many times. I could never get used to it. But when I smoke a hookah it is only at one point where I will start coughing, and that is when the bowl is burnt and time for it to be thrown out Usually 30 min after I state smoking. Yes I do inhale the hookah smoke fully, which I cannot do with a cigarette because of its harshness. The report does not seem accurate when they say it?s like smoking 100 cigarettes in one sitting.

Posted by: Reply

you end u coughing when you smoke a cigarette but not a sheesha beause it is a water pipe and it moisturises the smoke and makes it smoother to inhale. check out many more articles if you are really interested in accepting that sheesha is harmful but if you are ok with it or addicted to it i dont think they are trying to convince you to stop at all. They are just stating obvious facts.

Posted by: TW Kim

Alright, what this article lacks is that Cigarettes are more addictive, while Shisha is not. I don't shake if I don't have a week of Shisha, while if you are a smoker, you do. Shisha may be "as harmful" as cigarettes, but not as addicting. People who shisha everyday don't necessarily HAVE to shisha everyday, not like smokers. If you see this is in a long term, shisha is safer.

Posted by: Mike

Tj is correct is a sense, i smoke the Shisha on and off, when you heat he coal and palce on the top over the tabacco it is cooking the tabacco. However at a certain point it starts to burn it, but you can usually tell this because you get quite a harsh taste soon after. The few few puffs are like breathing in hot air because the tabacco has only been mildly cooked, the more you puff on the same batch the more the tabacco gets cooked and will soon burn.

Posted by: Brad

Very true. In fact, most of the "smoke" you are inhaling is actually steam (which is what makes it so thick and white), at the right temperature, the coal starts to not only cook the tobacco, but vaporize the moisture in the molasses.

So while it may LOOK like it's a lot more smoke than what it actually is, and sure, you might be at it for an hour or more, it's still less nicotine and byproduct of combustion than cigarettes.

Also, learning to recognize when the moisture has left the shisha and you are burning the then dried tobacco, will keep your smoking experience safer and more satisfying.

Posted by: Wael

@Tj: I don't understand your comment, the article is about how bad shisha is, and quoting an international organisation!
your comment is about how a shisha works?!
and do you really belive that a red hot charcoal is not meant to burn tobacco leaves soaked in glycerine, scents, artificial colors, and sweetners!
Get your facts right, the coal does not heat the tobacco! it burns it! you inhale CO1 + toxins (from the vaporised all healthy ingredients) + nicotine

Posted by: Justin

An international organization? How could they possibly be wrong? OK sarcasm aside..The comment was 110% correct. If set up and used properly the shisha mixture DOES NOT BURN. Most of the harmful effects of using tobacco products are by products of combustion. There's reports that claim that during one hookah session the user inhales as much nicotine as a whole pack of cigarettes...! I'm an ex cigarette smoker, quit 8 years ago and I own a hookah and use it maybe twice a month. I feel it's not addictive in any way and to compare it to cigarettes is nonsensical. Bottom line, smoke isn't good to inhale, we all know that but to go as far as to say hookah is as much of a health problem as cigarettes is way overboard. The statistics just aren't there, they never will be and anyone who claims otherwise is fabricating false information.

Posted by: Nick

Actually, in a hookah you are baking the shisha at about 300 degrees Fahrenheit, not burning it. Also, while it is true that you are exposed to more smoke in a hookah session than in one cigarette, the hookah does have the benefit of not containing all the other additives and chemicals that are added to cigarettes. Either way, both are bad for you but as long as you keep it in moderation you should be okay.

Enter the words above: Enter the numbers you hear:

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Finger on the pulse of Gulf healthcare

Finger on the pulse of Gulf healthcare

Fast-expanding Anglo Arabian Healthcare has already built up...

Saudi healthcare booms as state bids to close welfare gap

Saudi healthcare booms as state bids to close welfare gap

Stock market listings are being planned by two of Saudi Arabia...

Revealed: How the Gulf is losing billions to medical insurance fraud

Revealed: How the Gulf is losing billions to medical insurance fraud

The growing issue of medical insurance fraud and abuse — ranging...

1
Most Discussed
  • 6
    UK politician sacked over burka binbag jibe

    The whole point is that women should dictate what they want to wear and not men. That should be the underlying motive. If a woman WANTS to wear a burqa... more

    Wednesday, 27 August 2014 1:16 PM - mick
  • 5
    UAE teens among the highest for obesity rates

    There are loads of fatties in Dubai. They don't offend me personally. Unlike other countries where taxes support the health system, here, each person has... more

    Wednesday, 27 August 2014 4:04 PM - nice
  • 5
    Smoke-free Dubai - the big debate

    Surprisingly the only studies that show a negative financial impact of the smoking ban on the hospitality industry are sponsored by tobacco companies ... more

    Wednesday, 27 August 2014 4:19 PM - Telcoguy