Shisha, also known as hookah or water pipe, serves as a device for smoking flavored tobacco. This age-old tradition has a strong presence in several parts of the world, particularly in the Middle East and South Asia.
In a typical shisha session, specially flavored tobacco undergoes heating in a bowl, with the resulting smoke passing through water before being inhaled through a hose connected to a mouthpiece.
While many view shisha smoking as a social and cultural activity, it’s imperative to recognize that it carries health risks similar to other forms of tobacco use. The flavored tobacco in shisha contains nicotine and various harmful substances, and water filtration does not eliminate all these detrimental components.
As a result, engaging in shisha use can have adverse effects on health, increasing the risk of lung and heart diseases. It’s crucial for individuals to be mindful of these risks and make informed decisions regarding their well-being.
Smoking shisha, much like other forms of tobacco use, poses significant health risks, leading 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 Exposure: Shisha smoke is rich in carbon monoxide, posing a risk of symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and nausea associated with carbon monoxide poisoning.
Dehydration Concerns: Smoking shisha contributes to dehydration, attributed to both the heat involved and the effects of tobacco, resulting in symptoms like a dry mouth and throat.
Nicotine Dependency: Shisha tobacco contains nicotine, a highly addictive substance. Consistent use can lead to the development of addiction and dependence.
Respiratory Discomfort: The inhalation of shisha smoke can irritate the respiratory system, potentially causing coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
Elevated Heart Rate: Shisha smoking has the potential to temporarily increase heart rate and blood pressure, contributing to cardiovascular concerns.
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.