Waterpipe smoking dangers noted in VCU study

By chillinwill · Dec 3, 2009 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    Smoking tobacco through a waterpipe exposes the user to the same toxicants – carbon monoxide and nicotine – as puffing on a cigarette, which could lead to nicotine addiction and heart disease, according to a study led by a Virginia Commonwealth University researcher published in the December issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

    In the past eight to 10 years, smoking tobacco with a waterpipe, also called a hookah or shisha, has grown in popularity in the United States, especially among adults 18 to 24. The belief among some waterpipe users is that this method of smoking tobacco delivers less tar and nicotine than regular cigarette smoking and has fewer adverse health effects.

    “The results are important because they provide concrete, scientific evidence that contradicts the oft-repeated myth that waterpipe tobacco smoking does not involve users inhaling the same harmful chemicals that cigarette smokers do,” said principal investigator Thomas Eissenberg, Ph.D., professor in the VCU Department of Psychology.

    “We hope that these results will be used by physicians and public health officials to inform waterpipe tobacco smokers that they risk tobacco-induced nicotine addiction and cardiovascular disease,” he said.

    According to Eissenberg, no previous single study has compared the human toxicant exposure associated with waterpipe and cigarette smoking under controlled, laboratory conditions.

    Between 2008 and 2009, Eissenberg, together with Alan Shihadeh, Sc.D., associate professor at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, compared the toxicant exposure associated with waterpipe smoking and cigarette smoking among 31 participants between the ages of 18 and 50. Each participant completed two 45-minute sessions, one in which they smoked tobacco using a waterpipe and the other in which they smoked a single cigarette. The level of nicotine and carbon monoxide in the participants’ blood was measured, as was heart rate, puff number and puff volume.

    They found that on average, the levels of carbon monoxide to which participants were exposed were higher when they were smoking a waterpipe than when they were smoking a cigarette. Specifically, the peak waterpipe COHb level – amount of carbon monoxide found bound to red blood cells – was three times that observed for cigarette. However, they observed that the peak nicotine levels did not differ – but there was exposure to nicotine through both methods of tobacco smoke. Examining the number and volume of each puff showed that compared with smoking a cigarette, waterpipe tobacco smoking involved inhalation of about 48 times more smoke.

    In previous work, Shihadeh had conducted studies that demonstrated that waterpipe tobacco smoke contains compounds that cause cancer and other disease, so the large amount of smoke inhaled when using a waterpipe was a concern for the research team.

    Eissenberg, who is director of the VCU Clinical Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory and a researcher with the VCU Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies, and Shihadeh, who is director of the American University of Beirut Aerosol Research Laboratory, are continuing their laboratory studies of waterpipe tobacco smoking to examine what other dangerous chemicals are inhaled when individuals and groups engage in this behavior. They hope that future large-scale studies of the health effects of tobacco use will examine waterpipe smokers separately, to determine the extent to which waterpipe tobacco smoking can be linked to tobacco-caused disease.

    December 2, 2009
    Augusta Free Press

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  1. Desertfox
    The study fails to note whether a coal was being burned and the tobacco then vaporized, as it is normally with sheesha, or if the tobacco was burnt with a lighting source, such as with a cigarette. This fact alone would make or break what this study is trying to report. Vaped tobacco would release much less harmful chemicals then say a burning cigarette would. Usually if the sheesha starts burning in a Hookah you put it out immediately or else it tastes like ass and is too harsh to smoke. He tobacco in the waterpipe used in the study needs to be smoked in the traditional way for the results to be accurate. The article doesn't specify whether or not it was. idk know i didn't have time to read every word.
  2. Terrapinzflyer
    Well, its a no brainer one can inhale more smoke with a waterpipe- hence its long time use in smoking marijuana and hashish. But unless I missed it there was no indication of whether the same amount of tobacco was smoked to yield the blood levels, or if the same tobacco was used for both the cigarette and hookah. (or for that matter- what brand of cigarette was used or whether it was rolled tobacco.)

    will look for the study...
  3. CrystalDextro
    It said 48x the volume which should comply to the amount of tobacco if burnt the same way. However if swim did his math write if the water pipe tests showed 3x the amount of carbon monoxide in blood then 3/48= 1/6 of what a cigeratte produced. Just a thought...
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