Hubbly just as bad as cigarettes, if not worse

2013-06-01 00:00

SORRY to burst your bubble, but smoking a hubbly bubbly — also called a hub, hookah, water pipe, narghile, shisha or goza is as dangerous as smoking cigarettes.

So says Sue Janse van Rensburg, chief executive officer of Cansa, as part of yesterday’s Cansa’s World No Tobacco Day (May 31) awareness campaign.

“We watch with growing alarm as water pipes, also known as hookahs or hubbly bubblies, become increasingly popular among smokers and non-smokers alike, particularly among young people,” said Janse van Rensburg.

“There’s a misconception that the water pipe … offers a harmless way of sharing a recreational drug that has no side effects.”

Janse van Rensburg said the truth was that water pipe smokers and second-hand smokers were at risk of the same kinds of diseases that are caused by cigarette smoking, including cancer, heart and respiratory diseases, as well as adverse effects during pregnancy.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), contrary to the popular belief that the smoke of a water pipe has little or no side effects and is less harmful than cigarette smoking, the smoke that emerges from a water pipe contains several toxins known to cause lung cancer, heart disease and other diseases. It delivers the addictive drug nicotine and more frequent use is likely to result in addiction.

In addition, the charcoal burned in the pipes often produces its own toxins, including high levels of carbon monoxide and cancer-causing chemicals.

Janse van Rensburg said: “This means that all people exposed to the smoke produced by a water pipe, whether they are smoking the pipe or just passively exposed to the smoke of others, inhale a double dose of toxins.”

The WHO has also found that a water pipe smoking session, which typically lasts between 20 to 80 minutes, may expose the smoker to more smoke (and its harmful effects) over a longer period of time than when smoking a cigarette.

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