Many people feel that shisha is safer than smoking cigarette. But then, what is one hour of shisha equivalent to?
According to the World Health Organisation, the volume of smoke inhaled in a typical shisha session, which is approximately one hour, is equivalent to smoking between 100 and 200 cigarettes in one fell swoop!
This is because a cigarette smoker typically takes between eight and 12 puffs, inhaling 0.5 to 0.6 litres of smoke. But during hour-long shisha sessions, smokers may take up to 200 drags, ranging from 0.15 to 1 litre of smoke each, WHO says.
What is shisha?
Shisha, also known as hookah or narghile, is a water pipe in which a mixture of tobacco and flavourings is smoked.
Experts say smoking shisha involves the burning of wood, coal or charcoal which heats up the tobacco and produces smoke. The smoke bubbles through a water-filled chamber and into a pipe and is then inhaled by the user.
Is shisha safer than cigarettes?
Smoking shisha is not safer than cigarettes, lung experts say. “It is just as unhealthy and potentially worse!” they warn.
“Shisha smoking is a growing concern because people aren’t aware of the risks like they are with cigarette smoking,” says Director of Tobacco Studies at the University College London, Prof. Robert West.
“The greater the exposure in terms of duration and amount of shisha smoked, the greater the risk to your health,” Prof. West adds.
That’s because although shisha tobacco tastes nicer than cigarettes, it contains all the same toxicants known to cause lung cancer and heart disease.
West warns that a shisha smoker can inhale many of the same toxins and cancer-causing substances as cigarette smokers. And according to the WHO, the volume of smoke inhaled in a typical shisha session (approximately one hour) is equivalent to smoking between 100 and 200 cigarettes!
shisha tobacco tastes nicer than cigarettes, but it contains all the same toxicants known to cause lung cancer and heart disease
How strong is shisha compared to cigarettes?
According to Centre for Disease Control (CDC), in a single water pipe session, users are exposed to up to nine times the carbon monoxide and 1.7 times the nicotine of a single cigarette.
The amount of smoke inhaled during a typical hookah session is about 90,000 milliliters (ml), compared with 500–600 ml inhaled when smoking a cigarette.
What are the health risks?
Like cigarette smokers, shisha smokers are at risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases, cancers, respiratory diseases, nicotine addiction, and problems during pregnancy.
Seven out of 10 cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking. It also causes cancer in many parts of the body, including the throat, mouth and stomach.
Smoking damages your heart and circulatory system, increasing the risks of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
Smoking damages the lungs and causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
If you smoke during pregnancy there is an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth.
Breathing in secondhand smoke is just as dangerous and carries the risk of developing the same health conditions as smokers.
Like cigarette smokers, shisha smokers are at risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases, cancers, respiratory diseases, nicotine addiction, and problems during pregnancy
Shisha myth busting
How many days does shisha stay in your body?
It can be detected in your urine for at least three days after your exposure to nicotine and in your hair for weeks or more. The best way to remove nicotine from your body is to avoid tobacco products altogether.
Does smoking affect sperm count?
The study found that smoking was associated with decreased sperm count, decreased sperm motility (that’s how sperm swim), and poor sperm morphology (how sperm are shaped.)
What are the side effects of shisha to a man?
According to the American Lung Association, long-term effects include impaired pulmonary function, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, esophageal cancer and gastric cancer.
Short-term hookah use is associated with acute health effects, including increased heart rate and blood pressure, reduced pulmonary function, and carbon monoxide intoxication.