The Wisdom Tooth

Smoking Shisha – Dangerous or Cool?

Shisha smoking

Is smoking shisha dangerous or cool? Shisha smoking involves a water pipe with a smoke chamber, a bowl, a pipe and a hose. Specially made tobacco is heated, and the smoke passes through water and is then drawn through a rubber hose to a mouthpiece.

This type of smoking is recorded to have been developed in India by the physician of the Mughal emperor Akbar, Abu’l-Fath Gilani in the 1500s. However, some information suggests that it may have existed much earlier in Persia and spread towards the Indian subcontinent.

It also goes by other names, such as hookah, narjeela, archile, goza and even hubble bubble. The term hookah is a derivative of huqqa which translates roughly to “casket, bottle, water pipe.”

How does Shisha smoking work?

make up of a hookah

A hookah is constructed from a few components:

  • The jar at the bottom is filled with water and the body tube is sealed in with a small amount submerged.
  • Tobacco or tobacco-free products are placed in the bowl at the top. There is a foil or screen that separates the coal and the tobacco.
  • With suction through the hose, a vacuum is created at the top of the water bowl causing the smoke to bubble into it. Subsequently, air is drawn through the hot coals. The air passes through the tobacco mixture where a vapour is produced.
  • The vapour goes through the body tube that extends into the water. When you breathe in with the smoking hose, the change in pressure in the jar pulls more air through the charcoal, continuing the process.

What are the health issues with smoking shisha?

Studies have shown that an average cigarette equates to about 8-12 puffs, however, a typical shisha smoking session can range between 20-200 puffs. It is important to note that about 45 minutes of shisha smoking equates to about 100 cigarettes.

In a typical smoking session, you can be exposed to up to 9 times the carbon monoxide and 1.7 times the nicotine of a single cigarette.

Like in cigarette smoking, second-hand smoke from hookahs are problematic because it contains smoke from the tobacco as well as smoke from the heat source . Therefore toxins in shisha tobacco are also present in shisha smoke.

smoking shisha can be harmful the health

In the short term, smoking shisha can result in:

  • an increase blood pressure.
  • an increase in heart rate.
  • an increase in Carbon Monoxide levels.
  • reduce lung capacity worsening asthma and bronchitis.
Seeing a doctor

In the long term, smoking shisha can result in:

  • oral cancer.
  • lung cancer.
  • stomach cancer.
  • decreased fertility.
  • heart disease.
  • reduced birth-weight babies.
  • herpes and hepatitis from shared mouthpieces.
  • tobacco addiction.

If you do smoke shisha or any other tobacco type product, it is recommended to have a dental checkup at least every 6 months to check for the possibility of oral cancers.

Therefore: is smoking shisha dangerous or cool? – We say dangerous!

REFERENCES:
World Health Org - https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/179523/WHO_NMH_PND_15.4_eng.pdf
Quit.org.au - https://www.quit.org.au/resources/multicultural-groups/explainer-shisha-pipes-vs-cigarettes/
Mayo Clinic - https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/quit-smoking/expert-answers/hookah/faq-20057920
Health NSW - https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/tobacco/Factsheets/water-pipe-smoking.pdf
News Medical - https://www.news-medical.net/health/How-Does-Shisha-Compare-to-Cigarette-Smoking.aspx
CDC USA - https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/tobacco_industry/hookahs/index.htm


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By The Wisdom Tooth 1 September 2021

Between causing bouts of discomfort on unwary mouths and hiding in dark corners, the wisdom tooth shares snippets of wisdom from the field of dentistry.

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