Shisha can be more harmful than cigarette: expert
May 16 2016 11:49 PM
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Prof Thomas Eissenberg speaking at WCM-Q Grand Rounds.

Harmful effects of smoking shisha were discussed at the latest instalment of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar’s (WCM-Q) Grand Rounds.
Prof Thomas Eissenberg, director, Centre for the Study of Tobacco Products at Virginia Commonwealth University, said research shows that tobacco smoke from shisha contains many of the same poisons and can cause addiction in the same way as the smoke from
cigarettes.
Prof Eissenberg said: “Nicotine dependence is indicated by compulsion to use, impaired ability to quit and preoccupation with use, and research has shown that at least some waterpipe smokers meet these criteria. We should care about that dependence because this form of tobacco use is associated with substantial user toxicant exposure
as well as disease burden.”
Smoking shisha has experienced huge growth in popularity in the Middle East, the US and Europe particularly among young people. Many people believe that shisha is not as harmful or addictive as smoking cigarettes. Shisha can actually be more harmful because of the way it is smoked, explained Prof Eissenberg.
“With a waterpipe, because the water cools the smoke and the draw resistance of the pipe is so low, it’s very easy to inhale a lot of smoke – up to 50 litres of smoke over a 45-minute use period, compared to around one litre of smoke consumed by someone smoking a cigarette over about five minutes. Water only cools the smoke, it doesn’t filter out toxicants.”
Chemical analysis of waterpipe and cigarette smoke conducted by Prof Eissenberg found that the smoke from a 45-minute shisha session exposed a smoker to 1.7 times the amount of nicotine, and contained 8.4 times the amount of harmful carbon monoxide and 36 times the amount of tar, as the smoke from one cigarette over a 5-minute period.
Shisha smokers put themselves at greater risk of diseases like bronchitis, emphysema, periodontal disease and lung cancer. Expectant mothers who smoke shisha while pregnant can give birth to children with low birth weight.



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