Beware of toxic chemicals: shisha effects explained

Beware of toxic chemicals: shisha effects explained
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Do you know anything about shisha effects? Well, now published in the journal Circulation, researchers have discovered smokers are inhaling toxic chemicals that may harm the heart.

According to a new scientific statement published in the American Heart Association‘s journal Circulation, smoking tobacco in waterpipes, commonly known in the UK as shisha pipes, results in inhaling toxic chemicals. And such chemicals are often at levels exceeding cigarette smoke, all of which may harm the heart and blood vessels.

Shisha effects and toxic chemicals

Waterpipes go by many names: hookah, narghile, argileh, shisha and goza – and usually consist of a head or bowl that holds tobacco, a body, water base and hose that ends with a mouthpiece. Burning charcoal is placed on top of the tobacco-filled bowl. shisha tobacco is usually a combination of dried fruit, flavoured tobacco and substances to keep the tobacco moist.

During a shisha smoking session that typically last for 30 or more minutes, users inhale many litres of smoke filled with large quantities of particulate matter at higher concentrations than cigarettes.

Although direct comparisons between shisha and cigarettes have some limitations, a single session of shisha use typically results in greater exposure to carbon monoxide than a single cigarette.

Even short-term exposure to carbon monoxide in shisha is toxic and can interfere with exercise capacity, according to the statement authors.

In addition to carbon monoxide, shisha smoke contains other potentially harmful chemicals that can affect the cardiovascular system, including nicotine, air pollutants, particulate matter, volatile organic chemicals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, acrolein, lead, cadmium and arsenic.

Most of these toxic chemicals are higher in shisha than cigarette smoke

Currently, there is a persistent misperception among shisha users that this method of tobacco use is harmless.

In contrast, many youths are more aware of the risks associated with cigarette smoking and avoid that method of tobacco use because of those risks.

Further research is needed to effectively communicate the negative health impact of shisha smoking.

Health care professionals are encouraged to ask about shisha use and provide counselling and support to help patients quit.

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