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Shisha smoking is as harmful as cigarette: Expert

Shisha smoking is as harmful as cigarette: Expert


Tribune News Network
Doha
The harmful effects of smoking shisha were discussed by an expert in tobacco research and nicotine dependence at the latest instalment of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar's (WCM-Q) Grand Rounds.
Professor Thomas Eissenberg, director of the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products at Virginia Commonwealth University in the United States, 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.
Speaking at WCM-Q to an audience of physicians, researchers, students and healthcare professionals, 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 or narghila has experienced huge growth in popularity in the Middle East, the US and Europe in recent years, particularly among young people. Many people mistakenly believe that shisha is not as harmful or addictive as smoking cigarettes. In fact, shisha can actually be more harmful because of the way it is smoked, Prof Eissenberg explained.
"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 that is consumed by someone smoking a cigarette over about five minutes. It's important to know that the water only cools the smoke, it doesn't filter out toxicants," he said.
In fact, chemical analysis of waterpipe and cigarette smoke conducted in the laboratory 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 a massive 36 times the amount of tar, as the smoke from one cigarette over a five-minute period.
Just like cigarette smokers, 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.
Calling for more research into the effects of waterpipe smoking and more work to raise awareness of its dangers, Prof Eissenberg added:"Why should we care about waterpipe smoking? Because our youth are getting addicted to it and it's killing them."
Dr Thurayya Arayssi, associate dean for Continuing Professional Development, concluded:"We are very grateful to Professor Eissenberg for speaking at the Grand Rounds."

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