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Waterpipe (Shisha) Smoking is Hazardous to Health
2010.12.02
A woman fainted at home few days ago was suspected for smoking overdose waterpipe (shisha) at an unventilated environment.
 
Waterpipe, or shisha, one of the manufactured tobacco products originated from Middle East which was imported to China during Qing Dynasty. Shisha is still a popular tobacco product in Middle East and Mediterranean regions such as Turkey, Egypt and Saudi.   Shisha has been regarded as less harmful and less addictive compared with cigarettes for decades. 
 
According to announcement towards shisha’s impact on health from Dr Hussein A. Gezairy, Regional Director for the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region in 2006, the risks of shisha were revealed as follows:
 
1
A typical one-hour long water pipe smoking session involves inhaling 100–200 times the volume of smoke inhaled with a single cigarette
2
Even after it has been passed through water, the smoke produced by a water pipe contains high levels of toxic compounds, including carbon monoxide, heavy metals and cancer causing chemicals
3
Commonly used heat sources that are applied to burn the tobacco, such as wood cinders or charcoal, are likely to increase the health risks because when such fuels are combusted they produce their own toxicants, including high levels of carbon monoxide, metals and cancer causing chemicals
4
Using a water pipe to smoke tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarette smoking
5
Using a water pipe to smoke tobacco poses a serious potential health hazard to smokers and others exposed to the smoke emitted
6
Pregnant women and the fetus are particularly vulnerable when exposed either actively or involuntarily to the toxicants of water pipe smoke
7
Second-hand smoke from water pipes is a mixture of tobacco smoke and smoke from the fuel and therefore poses a serious risk for non-smokers
8
There is no proof that any device or accessory can make water pipe smoking safer
9
Sharing a water pipe mouthpiece poses a serious risk of transmission of communicable diseases, including tuberculosis and hepatitis
10
Water pipe tobacco is often sweetened and flavoured, making it very appealing; the sweet smell and taste of the smoke may explain why some people, particularly young people who otherwise would not use tobacco, begin to use water pipes
 
A survey study conducted for Egypt was released in 2006. It was found that nicotine absorption from shisha was equivalent to the cigarette. Owing to additional force would be applied against the water resistance during the shisha burning process, smoke must be inhaled into deeper pulmonary areas and cause greater risks on human health.
 
COSH is highly concerned for risks of shisha, especially shisha is getting more popular in western countries and waterpipe is available in some local middle-east restaurants. The shisha is getting more popular amongst youngsters because of its various fruit flavours, such as apple and orange.
 
For the health of yourself and your family, COSH discouraged the general public for consumption of any tobacco products, including waterpipe and cigarette. Smoking cessation is the only solution to reduce the long-term health hazards from smoking and secondhand smoke. 
 
Sources :
3.    Mackay, J., Eriksen, M., and Shafey, O., (2006) The Tobacco Atlas (2nd Edition), American Cancer Society.
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