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  1. chillinwill
    Smoking a shisha pipe is as bad for people as smoking tobacco, the Department of Health and the Tobacco Control Collaborating Centre has found.
    View attachment 10390
    People who smoke shisha, or herbal tobacco, can suffer from high carbon monoxide levels, its research revealed.

    It found one session of smoking shisha resulted in carbon monoxide levels at least four to five times higher than the amount produced by one cigarette.

    High levels of carbon monoxide can lead to brain damage and unconsciousness.

    Shisha is an Arabic water-pipe in which fruit-scented tobacco is burnt using coal, passed through an ornate water vessel and inhaled through a hose.

    The Department of Health said it was difficult to know exactly how much carbon monoxide one cigarette produced, due to the differences in smokers' inhalations.

    But measuring carbon monoxide in exhaled breath showed a normal non-smoker's level to be three parts CO per million parts of air (ppm) (less than 1% of blood not working properly), a light smoker to have 10-20 ppm (2-4% of blood not working properly), and a heavy smoker 30-40 ppm (5-7%).

    The study found shisha smokers had 40-70 ppm of CO in their breath - affecting 8-12% of their blood.

    Dr Hilary Wareing, director of the Tobacco Control Collaborating Centre, told the BBC's Asian Network she was shocked by the results of the research.

    "Our mouths opened at the level of harm - none of the tests we did showed anything other than shisha is hazardous to health."

    Paul Hooper, regional manager at the Department of Health, said the findings made the dangers of shisha a "major issue".

    He said many people regard shisha "as not even smoking".

    Misconception

    Shisha bars, which are typically decked out with low stools and soft cushions to create an inviting atmosphere, have become popular in cities across the UK, particularly in London, Manchester and Birmingham.

    An activity largely associated with Middle Eastern customers and a young crowd, there is a growing trend of themed shisha parties.
    Many people who go to "shisha evenings" think it is a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes.

    "You never see it in the news - 'that is terrible, don't do it' - there's no shock tactics like (there is with) cigarettes," said one young woman.
    "If my mum sees me smoking shisha, she isn't going to take it as seriously as if I was smoking cigarettes," said a British Pakistani man.

    It was this misconception - and finding dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in a pregnant woman who had stopped smoking tobacco, but continued to smoke shisha - which prompted the research.

    "We found one session of smoking shisha - that's 10 milligrams (of fruit tobacco) for 30 minutes - gave carbon monoxide levels that were at the lowest four and five times higher than having a cigarette," said Dr Wareing.

    "But at the worst, shisha was 400 to 450 times more dangerous than having a cigarette," she added.

    Informed choice

    Edgware Road is home to a large number of shisha cafes or hookah bars

    Shisha smokers in a cafe in Edgware Road, London, said the findings would make them think twice about smoking.

    "You know you can die from cigarettes, but you don't know you can die from shisha," said one.

    "I'm now going home to research it," said another.
    But not everyone is convinced.

    Akram, a 27-year-old who runs a restaurant and shisha bar in Birmingham, has his own views.

    "There is a health risk but it's all down to consumption and all the evidence I've seen is that smoking shisha is nothing like smoking even one cigarette," he said.

    He said he did not actually inhale shisha smoke.

    It is not just the level of carbon monoxide that is causing concern.
    Qasim Choudhory, a youth worker at the NHS Stop Smoking Service in Leicester, said sharing a shisha pipe could pass around infections.
    "There's a heightened risk of getting TB, herpes and infections like that," she said.

    "Now you know swine flu is on the top of the agenda right now - there's no kind of direct correlation, but at time when we're up on our hygiene, it's not the best type of activity to be taking part in."

    Dr Wareing said more research on exactly how dangerous shisha was needed to be conducted to enable people to make an informed choice.
    Paul Hooper said the department was working hard at "how best to get the message - that it is dangerous - across to the consumer".
    "But how do you label the tobacco and the shisha pipe? It's not as simple as labelling a packet of cigarettes," he added.

    By Perminder Khatkar
    August 24, 2009
    BBC News
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8214097.stm

Comments

  1. shhpongebob
    i think it is lame of this article for not pointing out that a person is not supposed to inhale at all! but i do think it is mildly underrated as a health threat by most people, or its seen as trendy. i hope the next trend is keeping addictive chemicals out of your body, at least for the most part and for most the time, and know when you are and take care. i think people kinda view it like coffee or so, more than cigarettes. (flavored, menthol to a lesser degree, and "indian" cigarettes also seem to be a problem a little bit in my community. i feel like im watching young people slowly start the road of nicotine addiction, which is unnecessary and advoidable, expensive and unhealthy)
  2. shivakiva2112
    ^Haha, you can't puff on a hookah without inhaling. It's not a cigar or a pipe, where the action of pulling smoke into the mouth can be done without inhaling, it's much more like a water bong, one must inhale deeply to pull smoke into one's mouth and lungs.

    Whoever said you're not supposed to inhale it? I've never heard anyone say that before.
  3. waiting281
    yeah, my favorite part about hookah smoke is the light-headedness, I wouldnt see the point in not inhaling
  4. Venusia
    Swivy has to agree, Swivy always inhales when she smokes shisha, and she can't see how one would smoke a hookah and not inhale. But to each their own. If it works for swiy, awesome! :)
  5. Potter
    Still it's a load of bull shit. It doesn't fricken burn! Where the hell is the carbon monoxide coming from?

    I want to see their procedures.
  6. shivakiva2112
    It may not 'burn' in the sense that fires burn, but it definitely undergoes combustion, and carbon monoxide is a combustion byproduct.

    You're right about the dubiousness of their procedures though:

    "We found one session of smoking shisha - that's 10 milligrams (of fruit tobacco) for 30 minutes - gave carbon monoxide levels that were at the lowest four and five times higher than having a cigarette," said Dr Wareing.

    No. Fucking. Way. is one shisha sesh constituted by 10 milligrams of hookah.

    Also, there's this:

    "But measuring carbon monoxide in exhaled breath showed a normal non-smoker's level to be three parts CO per million parts of air (ppm) (less than 1% of blood not working properly), a light smoker to have 10-20 ppm (2-4% of blood not working properly), and a heavy smoker 30-40 ppm (5-7%).

    The study found shisha smokers had 40-70 ppm of CO in their breath - affecting 8-12% of their blood."

    ppm of CO in exhalations is affected significantly by environmental factors (urban/rural setting), and most importantly by the time since last inhalation of smoke. A heavy smoker has a high ppm CO in large part because they smoke all day long and anytime you administer a breath test is going to be shortly after they finished a cigarette.

    In order to measure ppm of CO in exhalations of hookah smokers, one would probably get them in the lab, have them smoke hookah for half an hour, and then administer the breath test, with very high CO levels the obvious and expected outcome.

    I've personally conducted dozens of CO breath tests, sometimes nonsmokers have 10 plus ppm, sometimes heavy smokers have 3 or 4, it's not a very reliable measure in any case.

    And here's the really over the top claim: "But at the worst, shisha was 400 to 450 times more dangerous than having a cigarette,", at least in scientific studies, they publish the procedure so bad science eventually gets recognized as such; not so in the media. I mean, what's meant by the use of 'dangerous' in this comment, let alone how those numbers were calculated?

    Given that breath exhalation CO levels were reportedly 4 to 5 times higher in shisha smokers than cigarette smokers (I bet they measured shisha breath exhalation and took old data for the cig group), and that shisha is 400 to 450 times more dangerous, it seems on first glance that 'danger' increases by 2 orders of magnitude for every 100% increase in ppm CO. Bah...I gotta go to class
  7. [tanarilla.]
    There is no possible way of not inhaling the smoke into your lungsfrom shisha. Then you wouldn't be smoking it. And let's face it, there is no way all that lovely and lush smoke could fit in your gob from one inhalation.

    The carbon monoxide issue is there unfortunately, but that depends of what kind of coal one uses. There are little self lighting charcoal disks that are especially made for this purpose, but they are quite expensive.:thumbsdown: An even better option for your health is coconut charcoal, but you need to make a fire to light them. My bunny uses natural lumpwood charcoal for barbies, they don't have any nasty additives that let's say a briquette or the self lighting version does. [in fact, using a briquette is highly unsuitable] You'lle coughing your lungs out, or the wort case scenario, you pass out/or die from carbon monoxide poisoning. My bunny believes that smoking shisha may be indeed worse for your health than smoking cigarettes, but this method of smoking has been practised for more than a thousand years therefore it may be more 'reliable', Also, you don't get all the nasty stuff like that's in the cigarette paper, because the water clears most of the stuff out anyways. But you can buy filters for your pipe if you wish, making the smoking experience even less unhealthy.

    My bunny first came across this lovely object when she was fifteen and she instantly fell in love. It helped her to give up cigarette smoking and gave a whole new routine for her. Smoking became like a ritual almost, in fact she is smoking it right now.:laugh: Also a great thing to share with your open-minded friends, great to sit around and talk about shit.:)
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