Are Electronic Shisha Pens a Safe Alternative?

Electronic shisha pens, also known as electronic shisha sticks, electronic hookah or e-hookah, are fast becoming a popular trend among young people today. A key reason for their growing popularity is that they offer a similar experience to smoking traditional shisha but without the nasty smoke. Manufacturers often claim that electronic hookahs pose many fewer health risks than smoking traditional shisha. So what exactly are electronic shisha sticks, and are they really a safe alternative to smoking traditional shisha?


How it works?

An electronic shisha pen is a battery-operated device similar to an electronic cigarette. An atomizer heats up an e-liquid turning it into a vapour that can be inhaled. The devices are available in disposable or reusable form with a variety of fruit flavours to choose from.

What is inside?
The main ingredients of most e-liquids are water, fruit flavouring (mainly herbs), vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol. Not enough is known about inhaling those substances.

Is it toxic?
Although most electronic shisha pens are free of carbon monoxide, heavy metals (arsenic and lead) and other cancer-causing chemicals, that are found in traditional shisha, some devices do contain varying degrees of nicotine depending on the brand. There are still no conclusive studies on the long term effect of vaping.

As a result of the toxic compounds contained in traditional shisha, smokers are at risk of major diseases, such as cancers, heart disease, and respiratory diseases to name just a few. In addition, when you smoke real shisha, the people around you are breathing in toxic fumes and you are contributing to their risk of developing serious diseases.

Electronic shisha pens do not produce smoke, so there is no risk of passive inhaling, no nasty smell, and in the UK, there is no law to say you can’t smoke them indoors. And because e-shisha doesn’t generally contain most of the chemicals associated with traditional shisha, your risk of acquiring a smoking related disease is decreased. Always check the ingredients of the e-shisha stick you buy to be sure that no nasty chemicals have been added.

Safer?
Common sense would suggest that inhaling water vapour produced should be a more pleasant experience than inhaling smoke that contains over 4,000 chemicals, however, we must remember that Electronic shisha pens are a new product and have yet to be tested safe. There are still a lot of unknowns. No credible study has ever been conducted to verify that electronic shisha pens are safe. We wouldn’t advise their use by non-smokers.

 

Image by Michael Dorausch

 

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