Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Sheesha puffing: Hookah smoking is 100 times more dangerous than cigarette smoke

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, July 28: The State government may not want to see hookah puffing in pubs and restaurants as a 
crime that requires a ban, but doctors and health experts warn that this ancient water pipe is indeed a major health risk and may even lead to addiction.
With hookah smoking becoming a favourite pastime with many young Hyderabadis of late, pressure has been building up on the State government to ban hookah in public places.
While the reports on the toxicity or otherwise of hookah samples sent by the city police to AP State Forensic Laboratory are still awaited, several leaders including Congress legislator E Pratap Reddy want a check on hookah to protect the health of youngsters. Sources in the AP Forensic Laboratory said as many as eight samples are under test and the report would be ready later this week.
“Pub owners use flavours in hookah to attract youngsters. Some of the pubs charge even Rs 1,000 for an hour of hookah smoking,” Pratap Reddy pointed out. Pratap Reddy was forced to raise the issue on the floor of the State Assembly recently after the Cyberabad police noticed several youths including young schoolchildren enjoying a hookah session at a bar in the city outskirts.
The city and Cyberabad police have been booking cases against hookah shops only if they allow minors to smoke. Hookah as such cannot be banned unless some narcotics are used, the police argue. Says Banjara Hills police assistant commissioner Ravinder Reddy, “children below 18 years are banned from taking tobacco and its products. We are regularly collecting samples and sending them to Andhra Pradesh Forensic Science Laboratory (APFSL) to ascertain whether any banned substances are used in the ingredients”.
However, the State government does not want to take any drastic action against puffing hookah in public places till the forensic reports come in. But the World Health Organisation makes it clear that the water pipe contains a number of toxicants capable of causing several diseases.
City doctors point out that even if the forensic reports are negative for tobacco or narcotics, hookah still poses danger to the lives of people, particularly the young ones.
According to senior physician Dr Aftab Ahmad of Apollo Hospitals, hookah smoking gives a false sense of security but is as harmful as cigarette smoking. “About 70 per cent more nicotine is inhaled from hookah smoking than from one cigarette smoking. Hookah is associated with five times more chances of developing gum disease and lung cancer compared to a normal person who doesn't smoke,” he warns.
"Contrary to ancient lore and popular belief, the smoke that emerges from a water pipe contains numerous toxicants known to cause lung cancer, heart disease and other diseases," according to a WHO report on hookah.
Youngsters are made to believe that smoking hookah or shisha does not cause any harm as the smoke comes out through water. They are also in the false notion that they are puffing just chocolate, apple, grape or mango flavours. Many of them are unaware that tobacco and molasses are often used to create a false sense of happiness in the customers.
The WHO is of the view that a person can inhale about 100 times more smoke in a hookah session than in a single cigarette. It will also cause addiction if tobacco or drugs are used along with molasses and fruit flavours.
Facts About Hookah 
* Hookah is about a hundred times more dangerous than cigarette smoking. The amount of  tar inhaled through a single hookah session equals to the tar present in 100 cigarettes.  In the case of carbon monoxide poisoning the risk goes up to 50 times as compared with cigarette smoking.
* The water used in a hookah system may not work effectively always, exposing users to smoke.
* Hookah smoking may cause lung cancer, mouth diseases and heart troubles.
* What starts as a pastime or fun, soon becomes an addiction, exposing hookah puffers to more smoke and toxic elements including tar and carbon monoxide.
* There is also the element of infection since the pipes may not be disinfected properly.
The same pipe is puffed by several people, exposing the risk of infectious diseases.

1 comment:

Christin Reiniger said...

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