Second-hand Smoke from Shisha

The World Health Organization (WHO) did a study on shisha smoking and released the findings in May of 2010. World Health Organization found out that there are lots of serious misconceptions about smoking on the water pipe. People mistakenly believe that it is the safe alternative from smoking cigarettes. Guillermo Cole, public information officer for the Allegheny County Health Department said that, “Anyone who thinks it’s safer isn’t basing it on any valid science.”

Recent studies show that even second-hand smoke is a huge threat to all smokers and non-smokers alike. Second-hand smoke from shisha poses a serious risk for non-smokers particularly because the shisha smoke contains not only tobacco but also other substances from the heat source such as charcoal which is used in the shisha pipe.

A recent study shown that even second hand smoke is a threat to all, it increases risk of heart disease, lung cancer and SIDS too. No amount of second-hand smoke is safe. The only way to protect non-smokers is a smoke-free environment. Separating smokers and non-smokers within the same air space or relying on the ventilation systems just does not work.

That is the conclusion of new U.S. Surgeon General stating that non-smokers who were exposed to second-hand smoke at home or at work had a twenty-five percent to thirty percent increased risk of developing heart disease and twenty percent to thirty percent increased risk for lung cancer.

“Science has proven that there is no risk-free level of exposure to second-hand smoke. There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke,” Dr. Richard H. Carmona, U.S. Surgeon General, said. “Only smoke-free environments effectively protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke exposure in indoor spaces.”

According to the report, nearly half of all non-smoking Americans are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke. In 2005, an estimated 3,000 adult non-smokers died from lung cancer due to the exposure to second-hand smoke; 46,000 from coronary heart disease and 430 newborns succumbed to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Some 126 million Americans are still exposed to second-hand smoke. The risks are well documented which include heart disease and lung cancer in non-smoking adults as well as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), respiratory problems, ear infections and asthma attacks in both infants and children. Slightly more than twenty percent of children are exposed to second-hand smoke at home.

Second-hand smoke contains more than fifty carcinogens. Second-hand smoke is the combination of smoke from burning shisha and cigarette smoke exhaled by a smoker.

Inhaling second-hand smoke, also called passive smoke or environmental tobacco smoke may be even more harmful than actual smoking. That is because the smoke contains more harmful substances like tar, carbon monoxide, nicotine and others that is inhaled by smokers and non-smokers alike.

Second-hand smoke is harmful to the people who are already suffering from asthma. When a person with asthma is exposed to second-hand smoke, he or she is more likely to experience wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath associated with asthma.

Second-hand smoke can also damage memory. Tom Heffernan and Dr. Terence O’Neil, both researchers at the Collaboration for Drug and Alcohol Research Group at Northumbria University, compared a group of current smokers with two groups of non-smokers those who were regularly exposed to second-hand smoke and those who were not.

They found out that the non-smokers who had been exposed to second-hand smoke forgets almost twenty percent more in memory tests than those non-smokers who are not exposed to second-hand smoke. However, both groups out-performed the current smokers who forgot thirty percent more than those who were not exposed to second-hand smoking.

Those exposed to second-hand smoke either lived with smokers or spent time with smokers; for example, in a designated smoking area people reportedly being exposed to second-hand smoke for an average of twenty hours a week for period of around four and a half years. The three groups were tested on time-based memory recall to carry out an activity after some time and event-based memory which refers to memory for future intentions and activities.

Stop smoking; be it shisha or cigarette. This is the best advice that you can take. It will not just benefit you and everyone around you. If it is difficult for you to quit, consult your physician.

If you do not intend giving up smoking, don’t do it at home. Whenever you feel the urge to smoke, go outside the house where nobody will be at risk of your second-hand smoke.

Image by Flickr