Recent studies have again raised concerns about the misconception that smoking shisha has fewer health risks than smoking cigarettes.
Although many people believe shisha tobacco is less dangerous than smoking cigarettes, research has shown that smoking shisha can cause damage to the lungs and the heart.
Shisha (or sheesha) is an oriental tobacco pipe which is available to buy or use in designated cafes worldwide. Herb or fruit flavoured tobacco is burnt using charcoal placed on aluminium foil. The tobacco smoke is cooled as it passes through a water-filled bowl and inhaled deep into the lungs using a flexible tube.
Although the water-filled bowl, which the tobacco passes through, is a barrier to the tar and absorbs nicotine, much greater levels of smoke are inhaled by the user compared with smoking cigarettes.
Research has shown that smoking shisha for 60-minutes can produce 100-200 times more smoke than having one cigarette. Smoking shisha also causes the inhalation of toxic gases, as well as aluminium fumes, which can cause both lung and heart problems.
The amount of carbon dioxide inhaled through smoking shisha is very high compared with cigarette smoking, depending on the ingredients used. In addition, the packaging of shisha tobacco makes people less aware of the amount they are smoking compared with cigarettes and medical experts caution that frequently smoking shisha significantly increases the risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).