Shisha, also recognized as hookah or water pipe, is a device utilized for smoking flavored tobacco.
This practice boasts a long-standing tradition and remains popular in numerous parts of the world, notably in the Middle East and South Asia.
During a typical shisha session, specially flavored tobacco is heated in a bowl, and the resulting smoke passes through water before being inhaled through a hose attached to a mouthpiece.
Despite being perceived as a social and cultural activity by many, it is crucial to understand that smoking shisha poses health risks akin to other forms of tobacco use.
The flavored tobacco utilized in shisha still contains nicotine and various harmful substances, and the water filtration does not eliminate all these detrimental components.
Consequently, shisha use can have adverse effects on health, including an elevated risk of lung and heart diseases.
It is essential for individuals to be aware of these risks and make informed decisions about their well-being.
Smoking shisha, like other forms of tobacco use, poses significant health risks and can lead to various short-term and long-term side effects.
Some of the major health risks and side effects associated with smoking shisha include:
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Shisha smoke contains high levels of carbon monoxide, which can lead to symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and nausea.
- Dehydration: Smoking shisha can cause dehydration due to the heat and the effects of tobacco, leading to dry mouth and throat.
- Nicotine Addiction: Shisha tobacco contains nicotine, a highly addictive substance. Regular use can lead to addiction and dependence.
- Respiratory Irritation: The smoke can irritate the respiratory system, causing coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
- Increased Heart Rate: Shisha smoking can elevate heart rate and blood pressure temporarily.
Long-Term Health Risks:
- Cancer: Shisha smoke contains carcinogens, which increase the risk of developing various cancers, including lung, throat, and mouth cancer.
- Respiratory Disorders: Long-term shisha smoking can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, and other respiratory disorders.
- Heart Disease: Shisha smoking can contribute to the development of heart diseases, including coronary artery disease.
- Pregnancy Complications: Pregnant women exposed to shisha smoke are at an increased risk of complications such as low birth weight and premature birth.
- Infectious Diseases: Sharing the same mouthpiece can spread infectious diseases like herpes and tuberculosis.
- Infertility: Studies have indicated that smoking shisha can affect male fertility. The chemicals in shisha smoke may damage sperm quality and reduce sperm count, making it difficult for men to father children.
- Sexual Health Issues: Smoking shisha can negatively impact sexual health in men. It may lead to erectile dysfunction, reducing sexual performance and overall satisfaction.
- Skin Damage: Shisha smoking can lead to premature aging of the skin, causing wrinkles and a dull complexion. It can also worsen existing skin conditions like psoriasis.
People exposed to shisha smoke secondhand are also at risk, especially children and non-smoking adults.
Secondhand shisha smoke contains many of the same harmful chemicals as cigarette smoke.
Are There Any Health Benefits of Smoking Shisha?
It’s important to recognize that smoking shisha offers very few, if any, health advantages.
In fact, this practice carries numerous health risks, including exposure to harmful chemicals and an elevated likelihood of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
Being aware of these health risks is crucial, prompting individuals to consider healthier alternatives for relaxation and social interaction.
Quitting smoking shisha and seeking support from healthcare professionals or support groups can significantly improve overall well-being.
Engaging in physical activities, spending quality time with loved ones, or pursuing hobbies are excellent alternatives.
These activities not only provide relaxation and enjoyment but also promote better health without the associated risks linked to smoking.