Saturday March 23, 2019

Toxins are Higher in Hookah than Cigarette Smoke: Study

Unlike cigarette tobacco, hookah tobacco, often colourfully packaged, is sold in candy and fruit flavours, which appeals to younger audiences

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hookah, cigarette, smoke
Hookah smoking is addictive and can lead to the use of other tobacco products such as cigarettes. Pixabay

Do you believe smoking hookah is safer than smoking cigarettes? Think twice.

A single session of hookah can lead to greater exposure to carbon monoxide than smoking a single cigarette, and causes harm to the heart and blood vessels, say researchers including one of an Indian-origin.

The findings showed that during a hookah smoking session that typically lasts for 30 or more minutes, users inhale many litres of smoke filled with large quantities of particulate matter at higher concentrations.

Even short-term exposure to carbon monoxide in hookahs is toxic and can interfere with exercise capacity.

cigarette, hookah
Most of these toxins are higher in hookah than cigarette smoke, said the study published in the journal Circulation. Pixabay

Hookah smoke also contains other harmful chemicals including nicotine, air pollutants, volatile organic chemicals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, acrolein, lead, cadmium and arsenic that can affect the cardiovascular system.

Most of these toxins are higher in hookah than cigarette smoke, said the study published in the journal Circulation.

“Many young people mistakenly believe that smoking tobacco from a hookah is less harmful than cigarette smoking because the tobacco if filtered through water, but there is no scientific evidence that supports that claim,” said Aruni Bhatnagar, Professor at the University of Louisville in the US.

Bhatnagar noted that hookah smoking is addictive and can lead to the use of other tobacco products such as cigarettes.

Unlike cigarette tobacco, hookah tobacco, often colourfully packaged, is sold in candy and fruit flavours, which appeals to younger audiences.

hookah, smoke, cigarette
Even short-term exposure to carbon monoxide in hookahs is toxic and can interfere with exercise capacity. Pixabay

In addition, because many people smoke hookah in lounges and cafes it is perceived to be a social activity and less habit-forming.

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While several youth are aware of the risks associated with cigarette smoking and avoid it, there is a misperception among hookah users that this method of tobacco use is harmless.

It is also because most of the tobacco marketed to hookah users does not carry a health warning, leading to the misperception that it is not harmful, the researchers said. (IANS)

Next Story

Hookah Smoking Posts on Social Media Promote The Habit, Here’s How

They found that 99.6 per cent indicated positive sentiments towards hookah use and only one post (0.4 per cent) mentioned its negative health effects

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Hookah Smoking Posts on Social Media Promote The Habit, Here's How
Hookah Smoking Posts on Social Media Promote The Habit, Here's How. Pixabay

Posts with hashtags, such as #hookah or #shisha, on social media platforms may portray its use in an overwhelmingly positive manner despite its serious health risks, a new study suggests.

The findings, published in the journal Health Education and Behavior, suggested that the portrayal and promotion of hookah smoking on social media can normalise its use and pose public health challenges.

A team of researchers from Florida International University, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Miami, the Syrian Centre for Tobacco Studies, and the University of Pittsburgh selected 279 posts from 11,517 posts tagged hookah or shisha within a four-day period.

They found that 99.6 per cent indicated positive sentiments towards hookah use and only one post (0.4 per cent) mentioned its negative health effects.

“A growing body of evidence suggests that smoking hookah can lead to nicotine dependence and many other known smoking-related illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory disease,” the researchers said.

hookah
Representational image. Pixabay

“This study represents an important step in identifying hookah-related themes on Instagram and demonstrates the value in using data from this social platform to complement and extend our understanding of health behaviours,” they added.

The researchers also found that 10 per cent of all posts used the hashtag #HookahAddiction, signalling that nicotine addiction is not perceived as a health risk that would discourage potential users but instead is referred to ironically or as a “badge of honour”.

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The researchers commented that policymakers and others should explore approaches for reducing the number of promotional posts, for example, by creating campaigns to counter-market positive themes presented on social media.

“These findings can inform the design of future tobacco control media campaigns aimed at countering the normalization of hookah use on social media,” the researchers noted. (IANS)