What Is Shisha?
Single or multi-stemmed instrument for smoking flavored tobacco (e.g apple, mint, cherry, chocolate, coconut, licorice, cappuccino, and watermelon), where smoke is passed through a water basin (for purification), before inhaled upto the throat. In the Arab world, it is smoked as a part of their culture and traditions. Social smoking is done with a single or double hose hookah, and sometimes even triple or quadruple hose hookahs in the forms of parties or small get-togethers. A hookah is the name given for the pipe. Hookahs originated in ancient Persia, according to Cyril Elgood (pp. 41, 110), it was Abul-Fatḥ Gilani (d. 1588), a Persian physician at the court of the Mughal emperor Akbar I, who “first passed the smoke of tobacco through a small bowl of water to purify and cool the smoke and thus invented the hubble-bubble or hookah”. Shisha is now gaining popularity around the globe, including Britain, France, Russia, the Middle East, Southern Asia & the United States.
There is a lot of talk concerning the health issues with shisha in comparison with smoking a cigarette. However at the same time there are many misconceptions. Personally i have come across many rumours such as “one puff on shisha is the equivalent of 30 cigarettes”. This is not true, logically. On simple terms shisha and cigarettes smoke both create a risk to your health, but as a comparison there is a difference.
- A standard shisha has 10 times less nicotine than cigarettes. Nicotine is a drug which stimulates the body & also can create an addiction. Cigarettes on average have 0.5 % nicotine, whilst shisha has 0.05%. An hour session is roughly equivalent to 2.5 cigarettes in terms of nicotine.
- Unlike cigarettes, shisha prevents you from inhaling tar (due to the foil). Tar is a chemical which breaks down the walls of the lungs forming scar tissue & decreasing the surface area for gas exchange. Thus making it more difficult to breath. This is a disease called Emphysema.
- Depending on the coal, shisha has around 4 chemicals. Cigarettes however have over 400.
- As shisha is less addictive, it is encouraged to smoke it moderately & not part as a routine. With cigarettes you are very prone to become addicted & possibly be smoking 6 or upto 40 a day (on average).
- Smoking shisha does not produce an horrid & distinct bad breath unlike smoking cigarettes.
- Cigarette smoking is considered to be more carincogenic. (more likely to form cancers such as lung cancer)
- Smoking shisha is supposed to be inhaled upto the throat only and not down the lungs. This reduces the risk heart disease & lung cancer other diseases.
- Because in general smoking shisha lasts longer than smoking a cigarette, your body is exposed to more carbon monoxide which increases blood pressure which relates to heart disease. Also it is known to damage the wall of blood vessels.
- For the same reason that shisha lasts longer, your throat is exposed to compounds more frequently there it is more likely it will trigger an immune response & cause inflammation.
- Poses dangers associated with secondhand smoke.
- Pipes used in shisha cafes may not be cleaned properly, increasing the risk in the spread of infectious diseases.
- B.B.Q coals produce an excess amount of carbon monoxide which results in headaches as the brain lacks in oxygen.
- An hour session is equivalent to inhaling around 200 times the volume inhaled with just one cigarette of smoke.
The reality is smoking shisha or cigarette both poses serious risk to your health therefore i would not recommend neither. Cigarettes are extremely addictive compared to shisha therefore you are more likely to suffer harmful effects from cigarettes. Smoking shisha moderately you are more likely to avoid the negative effects.