The Harmful Effects of Shisha - Plague or Pleasure?

Hookah, Narghile, Waterpipe, or Hubble Bubble smoking, popular as Shisha in this part of the world is a way of smoking tobacco, sometimes mixed with fruit or molasses sugar, through a bowl and hose or tube. It is a glass-bottomed water pipe in which fruit-flavoured tobacco is covered with foil and roasted with charcoal. The tobacco smoke passes through a water chamber and is inhaled deeply and slowly; the fruit-flavoured tobacco tastes smooth and smells sweet, making it an enjoyable and unrushed experience.

Shisha pipes use tobacco sweetened with fruit or molasses sugar, making the smoke more aromatic than cigarette smoke. Popular flavourings include Apple, Plum, Coconut, Mango, Mint and Strawberry . The tube ends in a mouthpiece from which the smoker inhales the smoke from the substances being burnt into their lungs.

How Harmful is Shisha?

It’s difficult to say exactly how much smoke or toxic substances an individual is exposed to in a typical shisha session. People smoke Shisha for a much longer period of time than they smoke a cigarette, and in one puff of Shisha you inhale the same amount of smoke as you’d get from smoking a whole cigarette. Shisha smoking appears to increase the risk of several Cancers (lung, esophageal, and gastric), Pulmonary diseases (impaired pulmonary function, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema), Coronary artery disease, Periodontal disease, Obstetrical and Perinatal problems (low birth weight and pulmonary problems at birth), larynx and voice changes, and osteoporosis.

Is Herbal Shisha Healthier?

No it isn’t. Shisha, herbal or not, usually contains tobacco. Fruit or herbal flavours do not mean the product is healthy.  Using a tobacco-free shisha still put the individual at risk from the Carbon monoxide and any toxins in the coal or charcoal used to burn the Shisha.

Second hand smoke is also a worry. If you’re smoking with other people or in a public place and the Shisha includes cigarette tobacco, it’s likely you’ll breathe in their second hand smoke too.