Shisha, also known as hookah or waterpipe, is a smoking device that has gained popularity in recent years. Originating in India and the Middle East, shisha smoking has become a social activity enjoyed by people all over the world. The device consists of a bowl filled with tobacco mixed with molasses and flavorings, which is heated by charcoal. The smoke produced is then filtered through water before being inhaled through a hose attached to the device.
While many people enjoy the taste and experience of shisha smoking, it’s important to understand what it contains and its potential health risks.
The components of shisha include tobacco, molasses, glycerol, and flavorings. The tobacco used in shisha is often different from the type used in cigarettes and can contain higher levels of nicotine. Molasses is added to keep the tobacco moist and to enhance flavor. Glycerol is a sweetener that helps create thick smoke clouds when heated. Flavorings are added to give shisha its distinct taste, with popular options including fruit flavors like apple or strawberry.
In addition to these main components, some shisha brands may also contain additives or preservatives.
Nicotine is a highly addictive substance found in shisha. In fact, the amount of nicotine in a single shisha session can be equivalent to smoking several cigarettes. Nicotine is a stimulant that increases heart rate and blood pressure, leading to a temporary feeling of alertness and euphoria. However, it also has negative effects on the body, including reduced lung function and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Additionally, because shisha smoke is typically inhaled deeply and held for longer periods of time than cigarette smoke, the harmful effects of nicotine are even more pronounced.
Harmful chemicals in shisha smoke are numerous and can pose a serious risk to health. Shisha smoke contains high levels of carbon monoxide, which reduces the amount of oxygen that can reach the body’s tissues and organs. It also contains carcinogenic substances such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and arsenic. Additionally, shisha tobacco is often flavored with sweeteners, which can mask the harshness of the smoke and make it easier to inhale deeply.
In conclusion, smoking shisha poses several risks and dangers to one’s health. While many people believe that smoking shisha is less harmful than smoking cigarettes, the truth is that it can be even more harmful due to the longer duration of the session and the larger amount of smoke inhaled. The charcoal used to heat the shisha can also release harmful chemicals like carbon monoxide and heavy metals into the smoke.
Additionally, sharing a shisha pipe can increase the risk of transmitting infectious diseases like tuberculosis or hepatitis C. Overall, smoking shisha should be avoided as much as possible to protect one’s health.