The harmful effects of smoking shisha were discussed by an expert in tobacco research and nicotine dependence at the latest installment of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar’s (WCM-Q) Grand Rounds.
Professor Thomas Eissenberg, Director of the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products at Virginia Commonwealth University in the United States, said research shows that tobacco smoke from shisha contains many of the same poisons and can cause addiction in the same way as the smoke from cigarettes.
Speaking at WCM-Q to an audience of physicians, researchers, students and healthcare professionals, Professor Eissenberg said: “Nicotine dependence is indicated by a compulsion to use, impaired ability to quit and preoccupation with use and research has shown that at least some waterpipe smokers meet these criteria.
Smoking shisha or narghila has experienced tremendous growth in popularity in the Middle East, the US and Europe in recent years, particularly among young people. Many people mistakenly believe that shisha is not as harmful or addictive as smoking cigarettes. In fact, shisha can be more harmful because of the way it is smoked.
In fact, chemical analysis of waterpipe and cigarette smoke conducted by Professor Eissenberg found that the smoke from a forty-five-minute shisha session exposed a smoker to 1.7 times the amount of nicotine, contained 8.4 times the amount of harmful carbon monoxide and 36 times the amount of tar, over a five-minute period.
Just like cigarette smokers, shisha smokers put themselves at greater risk of diseases like bronchitis, emphysema, periodontal disease and lung cancer.