Shisha, also known as hookah or waterpipe, is a form of tobacco smoking that has gained popularity among youths in recent years. It involves a device that heats tobacco and filters the smoke through water before it reaches the smoker’s mouthpiece.
The tobacco used in Shisha smoking is often a blend of molasses and fruit flavorings, which give it a sweet aroma and taste. While many people regard Shisha smoking as less harmful than cigarette smoking, it has been proven to be just as hazardous and can result in severe health complications.
The surging trend of Shisha smoking among youths is a cause for concern because it exposes them to various health risks. For instance, Shisha smoking contains carbon monoxide and other toxic agents known to increase the risks for smoking-related cancers, heart disease, and lung disease.
According to a study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), a typical Shisha session can expose the smoker to between 50 and 100 times the amount of smoke than smoking a single cigarette.
The dangerous side effects of Shisha smoking range from short-term to long-term health complications. Here are some of them:
(1) Respiratory problems
One of the leading health complications associated with Shisha smoking is impaired pulmonary function, which can result in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and breathing difficulties. The smoke produced during Shisha smoking contains harmful substances like carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and heavy metals that can damage the lungs and cause respiratory problems.
This article — “Shisha Smoke and Heart Disease.” British Heart Foundation. https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/risk-factors/smoking/shisha-smoke-and-heart-disease — confirms that shisha smoking is associated with increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Long-term exposure to Shisha smoke can increase the risks of developing various types of cancers. In men, it can lead to esophageal cancer and gastric cancer, while in women, it may lead to lung cancer, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer. The sweetened tobacco used in Shisha contains high levels of carcinogens that can damage the DNA and increase the likelihood of cancer.
This study — “Tobacco and Waterpipe (Shisha) Use: Global, Regional and National Prevalence, Trends, and Health Effects 1990-2015.” The Lancet. https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lanres/PIIS2213-2600(16)30176-X.pdf. — showed that shisha smoking is on the rise globally, and that it is associated with similar health risks as cigarette smoking, including lung cancer and respiratory symptoms.
(3) Cardiovascular disease
Shisha smoking has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular complications. This is because the carbon monoxide in Shisha smoke can reduce oxygen levels in the blood, leading to hypertension, arrhythmia, and other heart-related problems.
“Hookah Smoking and Cancer: Carcinogenicity of Hookah Smoke.” National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/tobacco/hookah-smoking — This article confirms that shisha smoke contains carcinogens that can lead to cancer, including lung, oral, and bladder cancer.
(4) Reproductive problems
Smoking/Shisha can interfere with the functioning of the male and female reproductive systems, leading to dysfunction in female ovulation and male erections. This can result in infertility, impotence, and other reproductive problems.
“Oral Health Risks of Tobacco Use and Effects of Cessation.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/diseases/oral-health.html — This source confirms that shisha smoking can have negative effects on oral health, including stained teeth, bad breath, and gum disease.
In conclusion, Shisha smoking is a dangerous habit that can expose youths to various health risks. It contains toxic agents that can damage the lungs, heart, and reproductive system, leading to severe health complications.
It is important for youths to be aware of the dangers of Shisha smoking and to avoid this harmful habit at all costs. Parents, educators, and health authorities should work together to create awareness and provide resources to help youths quit smoking. With concerted efforts, we can reduce the prevalence of Shisha smoking among youths and create a healthier future.