A study conducted by the Britain’s Department of Health and the Tobacco Control Collaborating Center demonstrated that those people who regularly smoke shisha can be affected by risky levels of carbon monoxide, comparable to sucking on vehicle exhaust gas or entering a room with a defective boiler.
“We want to inform people that if they want to do it, namely this effect it would have on them,” stated Paul Hooper of the Department of Health. Hooper stated that the results differed on how individuals inhaled the smoke, but one pastime of shisha smoking may bring to carbon monoxide levels at five times higher than the amount received by one regular cigarette.
Shisha was traditionally smoked in Middle Eastern countries, but with time it gained popularity in Britain with many youngsters smoking the pipe in bars around the country.
The shisha pipe, which is also known as hookah works by burning flavored tobacco on hot coals and allows users to suck the shisha through a decorated water vessel.
The study demonstrated that many shisha smokers didn’t know about the hazards and never considered shisha as smoking.
Hooper made an example of a pregnant woman who stopped smoking cigarettes in order to protect her unborn baby but continued to smoke shisha. When she was examined for carbon monoxide level, she had an extreme reading 70 parts per million (ppm) of carbon in comparison to 30 ppm expected from a chain smoker.
Britain’s young people often give preference to shisha bars, with their style comfortable sofas and intimate atmosphere where they relax and socialize. Shisha, which has such flavors as apple, melon and cappuccino, is often thought as a harmless alternate to smoking cigarettes.
“People even do not understand how bad shisha is. They believe because it is flavored and social it is cool and safe. But in fact it is as bad, if not dangerous,” stated Divya Marwaha.
Britain’s smoking ban, which was introduced in July 2007, urged shisha bars to take their water pipes outside and some of them even urged to go out of business.
Megan Murphy, who owned two shisha cafes in London before the ban, changed her business for a beauty spa. Murphy, who already does not smoke, stated that the given ban helped her to kick her habit.
“Each puff of shisha is more than one cigarette, when you make a puff of the shiha you can observe how much smoke is coming out the nose and mouth,” she said.
However waiters from shisha bars said that many customers are aware that scented tobacco is harmful.