​​The Truth About Shisha

​​The Truth About Shisha

Myths about Shisha

Take a walk along the Arab street area at night and chances are you will see groups of friends, hanging out and breathing out thick plumes of smoke. Thanks to the many cafes and bars that have sprouted in the area, shisha smoking has been touted as nothing more than a harmless social acitivity.

Many shisha smokers seem to think that the sweetened tobacco they smoke through water pipes (also known as hookah, nargile, or goza) is different than the regular tobacco found in cigarettes. "Since my throat does not seem to be affected by the smoke, it must be less harmful. Since it's smoked occasionally, it must be less addictive. Since the tobacco is burned on charcoal and filtered through a water pipe, what is breathed in is just flavoured water vapour."

 


Wrong! All of the above are dangerous myths based on highly inaccurate facts.

Smoking shisha can in fact be even more harmful and risky than smoking regular cigarettes. In a session lasting about an hour, a shisha smoker can inhale as much smoke as the equivalent to that from 100 or more cigarettes. So the shisha smoker is actually absorbing higher levels of dangerous chemicals than the regular cigarette smoker.

Shisha smokers usually smoke for several hours at a time and tend to inhale the smoke more deeply.

The smoke itself is highly concentrated and is combined with the fumes and toxins emanating from the coals and the fuels used for lighting the pipe.

The social nature of the activity – the fact that friends meet-up to share a smoke – makes it seem like a harmless social pastime when it is actually an addictive health hazard that affects all users, including unsuspecting passers-by via second-hand smoke.

The confusion seems to arise from contradicting information that suggests that shisha smoking is safer than cigarette smoking, mainly put forward by those who market the product. However, findings generally point to the fact that, just like regular cigarettes, shisha smoking increases heart rate and blood pressure, and impairs lung function in the short term.

Maybe what we should be using is common sense: our lungs were not made for smoking. They were made for breathing. So anything that you smoke will, in one way or another, harm your lungs. The sweetish smell of shisha smoke just disguises the fact that it's hazardous to your health.