Shisha is simply flavored Tobacco. Popular flavors include apple, strawberry, mint, and cola are used to make it more pleasant. Wood, coal, or charcoal is burned in the shisha pipe to heat the tobacco and create smoke.
Shisha often contains the same type of tobacco as you get in cigarettes meaning shisha smokers are at risk of developing the same health problems as cigarette smokers, such as cancer and heart disease. An individual is likely to get addicted to shisha because Shisha can contain nicotine.
According to a World Health Organization study has suggested that a one-hour session of smoking shisha can be the same as smoking 100 or more cigarettes.
Some harmful effects of shisha include:
Shisha smokers seem to absorb a higher concentration of toxic smoke than cigarette smokers on average. This is partially due to characteristics in the way that shisha smoking is practiced such as the frequency of puffing and depth of inhalation compared to cigarette smoking. Typically, the length of a shisha session is an hour, during which the user may inhale up to 200 times the volume of smoke inhaled from a cigarette.
Also, even though the water in a shisha pipe acts as a filter, it doesn’t effectively remove high levels of toxic products, such as carbon monoxide, heavy metals, and carcinogens that are present in the smoke that shisha produces.
Toxins from the shisha smoke enter the bloodstream and contribute to atherosclerosis which leads to the hardening and narrowing of arteries. The lining of the arteries also gets damaged from the smoke leading to the accumulation of a fatty deposit which narrows the artery. These changes can cause many cardiovascular conditions like angina, congestive heart failure, a heart attack, or a stroke.
There are also risks associated with the way in which shisha smoking is socially practiced. The apparatus is generally smoked in special bars and the mouthpiece provided may not be hygienic to use due to improper cleaning. Thus, using it increases the spread of infectious diseases like tuberculosis, herpes, and hepatitis from one person to another.
FACTS ON SHISHA
• The tobacco in shisha is the same tobacco found in cigarettes. This means that when you smoke shisha, you’re breathing in nicotine, tar, and heavy metals, including lead and arsenic.
• Smoking from one shisha for 45 to 60 minutes is about the same as smoking a pack of cigarettes.
• Nicotine is the chemical that causes addiction when an individual smokes or eats tobacco. When smoking shisha, the body absorbs the nicotine. It reaches the brain in about 8 seconds. The blood carries nicotine to the adrenal glands, where the production of adrenaline is triggered. Adrenaline raises your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. It also makes the individual feel more awake and less hungry. Over time, nicotine can confuse the brain, causing sickness and anxiousness if not taken. As a result, smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products with nicotine makes the person feel less anxious and that’s how addiction sets in.
• Shisha smoking doesn’t make you high. However, it does have many serious risks and is addictive, much like cigarette smoking. Smoking shisha isn’t better than cigarette smoking.
• If you think you may be addicted to smoking shisha, talk to a doctor about it so they can introduce you to a program that will help you quit.