‘More harmful than cigarettes’ – 15 ways smoking hubbly bubbly is bad for you, according to experts

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Smoking Hookah can be more harmful than smoking cigarettes.
Smoking Hookah can be more harmful than smoking cigarettes.
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Hookah, hubbly bubbly, narghiles, shisha, or goza. It's very popular among young people.

The likes of DJ Tira, DJ Maphorisa, Oscar Mbo and Mihlali Ndamase have been seen smoking hookah.

The tradition dates back to 16th-century India where craftsmen took pride in the aesthetics and redefined the look of the pipe through woodworking techniques, setting hookah innovation in motion.

Smoking hookah involves consuming tobacco through a water pipe so that the smoke passes through water and is cooled before being inhaled. New forms of electronic hookah smoking are also available.

Smoking hookah is deeply rooted in a cultural tradition that has been present through many generations among Indian, Persian, Turkish, Egyptian, and other Middle Eastern families.

But it has been a clubbing sensation where and often young people share pipes during social gatherings. 

However, not many know the risks involved.

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For instance, smoking one hookah can give you as much nicotine as 10 cigarettes and contains 36 times more tar and an estimated eight times more monoxide than the smoke from a cigarette, according to the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa).

Here are 14 other risks associated with smoking and sharing hookah.

  • The water from hookah does not clean the smoke, as many have assumed.
  • Like cigarettes, hookah smoke contains poison, including nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide – a deadly gas found in motor car exhausts – as well as arsenic, which is sometimes used in rat poison.
  • Using hookah can irritate the mouth tissue and increase the risk of oral ulcers and herpes.
  • An hour-long session involves about 100 puffs while a cigarette involved 10 puffs, while you inhale 90 litres of smoke instead of the 500-600ml inhaled from smoking cigarettes.
  • You can't always be 100% sure what kind of toxins you're putting in your body and their long-term effects. Hookah tobacco smoke contains cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens). These are known to cause lung cancer, bladder and oral ulcers, cancer, heart disease.
  • Early death.
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Diabetes.
  • Reduced lung capacity.
  • Reduced fitness.
  • Smoking from the same hookah pipes can result in the transmission of serious infections including tuberculosis, herpes, and hepatitis.
  • It can lead to nicotine dependence. A study in JAMA Pediatrics found that smoking hookah was linked to an increased likelihood of smoking cigarettes in the long run.
  • It can put your unborn child's life in danger. Smoking hookah during pregnancy may stunt a child’s growth, lead to premature birth, lower birth weight, and can put your life and the baby’s life in danger.
  • It's dangerous for kids. For children, hookah smoke can lead to Asthma, Bronchitis, and Pneumonia.

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According to Cansa health specialist Professor Michael Herbs, hookah tobacco and smoke contain many toxic agents that can cause clogged arteries and heart disease.

“Second-hand smoke from hookahs can also be a health risk for non-smokers as it contains smoke from the tobacco as well as smoke from the heat source,” he adds.

Additional sources: https://cansa.org.za/https://jamanetwork.com/, http://shishanothanks.org.au/

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