Shisha smoking which has been a favorite pass time activity mostly in the Middle East and South East Asia for countless decades has now started becoming popular in the UK, the USA and everywhere else on the globe for that matter. It is perfectly normal and in order to find hordes of men sited in a circle on the evenings inhaling scented tobacco and deeply involved in stimulating discussions in most parts of the world.
The humble origins which are surrounded by mystery and controversy seem to date back to the mid 1500’s when the Indians who had recently been introduced to the culture of smoking by their British colonialists first came across this “new fad”.
However, the Indians especially those in the nobility classes were a bit skeptic and apprehensive at first to using this substance that claimed to posses the charming ability and magic that soothed and calmed the mind-body and spirit. It was not until a physician came up with a new concept to inhale smoke, which was viewed to be pure and cooler. His ingenious proposal to safeguard them from the after-math of smoking was to pass the smoke flavored with fruits and molasses through water to cool it and also give it a smooth-richer taste. As smoking became more prevalent the crude device the physician had come up with continued to be enhanced and improved. It has now come to be known as a Hookah. The tobacco is flavored with fruits and so many more other ingredients in the cafes’ and restaurants that have been sprouting up around every corner in the big cities.
Contrary to the popular belief, Shisha smoke is a potent health hazard in the same bracket as cigarettes. Many out there especially the youths have been lured in by a false, fictitious belief that subscribes to the school of thought that since this smoke passes through the water to cool it and is mostly free from most of the carcinogens particles, which cause all the health related complications in conventional smokers.
Now we are well aware of more than one research finding, which have demonstrated that Shisha smoking is even more dangerous than cigarettes. The experts have gone ahead and made their case by citing the extended periods of time the smokers spend per sitting, the uncouth and unhealthy tendencies to share the mouth piece exacerbates the risk of tuberculosis and other bacterial infections like Herpes. They also remind us that the other people who happen to be around the smokers are exposed to extremely high levels of second-hand smoke.
Therefore, it would be prudent to assume that a Shisha smoker inhales more smoke filled with nicotine and carcinogens that will open the way forward to a whole barrage of lifestyle associated conditions like diabetes, tuberculosis, high blood pressures and many forms of cancers than a Marlboro smoker will. This sentiments were echoed in an article published by the New York Times where the vice president of the American Lung Association explicitly disproved the misleading myths that point to Shisha being a better option as compared to cigarettes and goes ahead to add that the top priority for his association is to see to it that legislation against Shisha smoking is put into place as soon as possible.
Others like the independent researchers based at the Royal University of Saudi Arabia have come up with their own findings that point out that Shisha is actually 30% less concentrated than cigarette smoke.
Over the years, this issue has remained in the background obscured by the sincere efforts of the health awareness campaigns aimed at highlighting the stifling effects of cigarettes smoking. It still remains to be seen as to whether their efforts have yielded any substantive grounds in helping curb the menace of smoking but one thing is crystal clear to all: cigarette smoking is associated with poor health and pre-mature deaths not to mention the economic burden it piles on to the users and this are the reasons it has been banned in many places.
However, Shisha smoking remains under the radar, while in effect is just as dangerous if not more, than cigarettes. Upon this realization more and more health providers and lobbyists are pushing their relevant authorities harder to prompt them to wake up and do something before our kids in universities and our men on the street cafes and restaurant kill themselves slowly, unknowingly.
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