Sheesha Smoking – The Overlooked Health Hazards
Sheesha smoking is increasing day by day among university students of Pakistan. Even school-going boys and girls are becoming addicted to it. Smoking sheesha is more of a fashion symbol these days. Mind you my friends, this seemingly cool predilection is not at all cool. It is even more hazardous to health than cigarettes.
It does not however imply that one should stop smoking sheesha and start smoking cigarettes. Well, I am a student too and yes I have been through this phase as well. I have friends who smoke sheesha regularly and they think that is “OKAY” to do so but it is not.
Sheesha smoke contains toxins. Herbal and tobacco flavors both have the same ill effects. If it’s tobacco then one inhales less smoke to fulfill the need. In case of the herbal variety, one has to inhale more smoke and even though it does not contain nicotine, inhalation of carbon monoxide causes significant harm.
Sheesha smokers draw larger puffs with herbal products and hence, more carbon monoxide inhalation. High levels of carbon monoxide in one’s body prevent oxygen delivery to the cells, resulting in hypoxia. This hypoxia leads to headache, dizziness and slight shortness of breath which an addict might think of as a “sheesha hangover”. Sadly, it is not a big deal for regular sheesha smokers.
Nicotine on the other hand is a major addictive component of sheesha or cigarette smoke. Sheesha smoke contains more nicotine than cigarette smoke. Sheesha is as addictive as cigarette smoking. I have come across sheesha addicts who wrongly perceive that water filters out the toxins from the smoke.
The truth is, water does not filter carcinogens. Moreover, sharing sheesha can cause infectious diseases via its mouthpiece. In addition, studies have shown that regular sheesha smoking for years can impair cardiac function and can lead to cancer of the mouth and lung. Sheesha is also known to decrease fertility.
Babies born to mothers who smoke sheesha have more chances of low birth weight and respiratory problems. All the diseases associated with cigarette smoke are associated with sheesha smoke. Sheesha smoking should be banned especially for students regardless of whether they are school going students or university students. Parents should not allow their children to smoke any kind of toxin. Every toxin is hazardous to health even if it is taken in small amounts for a long time or in large amounts for smaller period of time.
1. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/tobacco_industry/hookahs)
2. Journal of American Osteopathic Association (http://www.jaoa.org/content/112/10/686.abstract)
3. Myth of the healthy hookah (http://www.mindthesciencegap.org/2012/10/19/up-in-smoke-the-myth-of-the-healthy-hookah/)
4. Hookah smoking: Is it safer than cigarette smoking (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hookah/AN01265)
5. Myths of Hookah Smoking (http://www.google.com.pk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&ved=0CEEQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.health.umd.edu%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2FHookah%2520Brochure-%2520Final_0.pdf&ei=TnIFUvCBAcHV4gTQ6oGwBQ&usg=AFQjCNFI5Tl6hJRnAI3o6uotL6_iMMVC1g&bvm=bv.50500085,d.bGE)
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