Most people assume that smoking hookah is a safer alternative to other forms of smoking because hookah smoke is filtered through water before it is inhaled. But according to Paul Hooper, a tobacco policy manager at Warwickshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) “carbon monoxide levels in Shisha pipes were so high, it was the same as smoking up to 100 cigarettes in just one sitting”. He also added that there was a further risk of users – “contracting tuberculosis, or herpes from a contaminated pipe.”
What contents in cigarettes and hookah, when smoked, makes them so dangerous? Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer-causing (carcinogenic) compounds and 400 other harmful toxins. These include nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide as well as formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide and other toxins, while hookah contains more nicotine than cigarette smoking because of the massive volume of smoke that smokers inhale during hookah smoking. Hookah smoke has higher level of heavy metals and carbon monoxide than cigarette smoke because of the charcoal which is burned on top of the tobacco mixture.
The two most common types of herpes that can be acquired through smoking are oral herpes and herpes simplex or HSV 1 commonly known as cold sores. Herpes simplex 1 or HSV 1 is a virus that causes cold sores. It is the most common form of herpes around the world. Up to 80 percent of adults in the United States have this form of infection. Many have cold sores outbreaks on a regular basis, some every now and then. People who have herpes simplex virus 1 acquired it through smoking shisha and sharing mouth pieces from fellow smokers.
A while ago, there was an article in a newspaper that explained how people were contracting oral herpes caused by smoking hookah. Not only that, sharing hookah mouth pieces with other fellow smokers increases the chances of flu, infection and oral cancer.
According to the studies made by an anti-smoking organization working with college students known as of Tobacco Free U, it was found that hookah smoking exposes users not only to toxins and carcinogens but also to other health risks such as hepatitis, herpes and mononucleosis (mononucleosis is a viral infection causing fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph glands, noticeably in the neck) which can be contracted when people share a hose.
The potential health risks in hookah smoking are quite alarming. So, the next time you’re going to a shisha bar, remember all the strings attached to smoking shisha. When you quit, you win.
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