Friday February 28, 2020

World No Tobacco Day special: Smoking Hukkah more dangerous than using cigarettes



New Delhi: Seventeen-year-old Harsh Mahajan could not understand the pain in his chest while breathing or why the colour of his sputum was changing. The class eight dropout, who got addicted to the hukkah (Indian water pipe) smoking at an early age, kept ignoring his health complications till the day his parents saw him coughing blood.

After several tests were conducted at a hospital, both of Mahajan’s lungs were found to be filled with tar caused due to the tobacco smoke inhaled through the hukkah. Though medical experts started treating the teenager, he succumbed to lung cancer – serving as a warning for his friends who were similarly addicted.

Recent studies have concluded that in India the percentage of students who initiate hukkah smoking before 10 years of age has increased from 26 per cent to 45 per cent in the last one decade.

Health experts said that at least 40 percent of school-going students get into smoking the hukkah, to quench their desire for smoking cigarettes, thinking that the lower of tobacco content in hukkahs won’t harm their health.

“The existing myths compel youngsters to get into the practice of smoking hukkahs. A lot of people are still under the impression that the hukkah is an alternate to cigarettes, with less harm to health, but they are not able to understand that a typical one-hour-long hookah smoking session involves 200 puffs, while an average cigarette requires 20 puffs. This makes the hukkah more dangerous for the human body,” Kedar Toraskar, Chest Physician at Mumbai-based Wockhardt Hospital, told IANS.

He said that the volume of smoke inhaled during a typical hookah session was about 90,000 milliliters, compared to 500 to 600 milliliters of smoke inhaled by smoking a cigarette.

Emphasising that hukkah smoking was emerging as one of the prime reason behind the rising lung-related disease among youngsters, Toraskar said that the harmful toxins in hukkahs also caused respiratory illness, low birth weight and periodontal diseases among many.

He revealed that babies born to women who smoked a hukkah every day were likely to be 3.5 ounces less in weight than the babies delivered by a non-smokers. Explaining how somking a hukkah causes damage to the human body, Toraskar said: “The smoke produced by the charcoal burning in the hukkah contains high levels of carbon monoxide, metals and cancer-causing chemicals which does the same damage that cigarette or a bidi does to a human body.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says tobacco causes over five million deaths world wide which is likely to increase to 8.4 million if the situation is not brought under control. Tapaswini P. Sharma, senior consultant of surgery at Delhi-based B.L.K. Hospital said: “A lot of people are under the impression that the water used in the hukkah reduces the harmful affect of tobacco and causes no harm to the lungs, however this is not true as the toxins remains insoluble.”

“In fact, hookah use can also impair cardiac functions, and lead to cancers of the esophagus, mouth, lung, stomach, and decreased fertility. All the harmful effects associated with cigarettes are very much prevalent with the hookas too,” Sharma told IANS. Sudhir Khandelwal, head of the psychiatric department at AIIMS, said every form of tobacco consumption such as hukkah, inhaling and the pan causes the same damage that chewing tobacco does.

“Though a person starts with hukkah occasionally, but with time they become addicted to it,” Khandelwal told IANS, adding that the youth consuming tobacco in any form were more likely to get into active cigarette smoking. “In all, 50 percent of the cancers in India are directly or indirectly related to tobacco consumption,” he said.

On the other health damage caused by hukkahs, Rajeev Dewan, senior consultant in Internal Medicine at Delhi-based Saroj Super Specialty Hospital, said that tobacco juices from hukkahs affect the mouth and increases the risk of developing oral cancers. “As a substitute, there are also e-hukkahs available which are considered to be nicotine free. But these are all false myths as they do contain some amount of nicotine and cancerous elements which are enough to cause the same damage any tobacco related product does to a human body,” Dewan said. (IANS)

Next Story

Hazardous Dangers Caused by Pest Repellants

Repellents offer notable convenience when it comes to keeping away biting and stinging pests.

By Dinesh Kumar

Repellents offer notable convenience when it comes to keeping away biting and stinging pests. They work by interfering with the natural mechanisms that pests use to locate their victims.  For example, chemical agents within mosquito repellents mask the carbon dioxide and sweat odour produced by the body. In this manner, mosquito repellents make a person ‘invisible’ to this disease-carrying insect. 

Other pest repellents use non-biodegradable synthetic chemicals capable of interfering with vital metabolic processes in the target pest. Chemicals such as diethyl-methyl benzamide( DEET) and dimethyl phthalate (DMP) can interfere with the respiratory system of many insect species even at low concentrations. Best Pest Control Companies will use organic ways to get rid of the pests. 

This capability is why many popular pest repellents contain DEET and DMP as the main active ingredients. Unfortunately, these highly effective organic compounds pose a notable health risk to human beings in higher concentrations. This article looks at the various dangers posed by pest repellents.

  • Poisoning of Small children

Pest repellent manufacturers try to make their products as desirable as possible. This is why popular‘s repellants use fruity sweet-smelling fragrances that appeal to a consumer’s sense of smell. Furthermore, manufacturers often present their products as multifunctional purchases. Good examples would be cans of pest repellant that you can use as air-fresheners and skin lotions with insect-repelling properties.

Other pest repellents use non-biodegradable synthetic chemicals capable of interfering with vital metabolic processes in the target pest.

While it is only logical to use a sweet-smelling pest repellent, such repellents do pose a significant danger when it comes to small kids. Reason being, the sweet smell might trick a child into eating a liquid or balm repellant. In this scenario, severe poisoning can occur due to the child’s lower body weight.

  • Cancer with Longterm Use

The non-biodegradable organic nature of the active ingredients found in pest repellents pose yet another significant hazard to users of these products. Users typically apply the repellent directly to the skin, either an aerosol spray or body lotion. When this happens, the active chemical agents within the product diffuse across the layers of skin and end up in the bloodstream. 

In this manner, DEET, DMP and other toxic organic compounds begin accumulating within body tissue. In a wide range of scenarios, these chemicals are fat-soluble, so end up in fatty tissue. Over time, and with regular use of pest repellents, concentrations of these harmful chemicals can reach such high levels that cancer develops. However, it takes decades of fanatical pest repellent use for one to develop the fatal condition.

  • Skin Conditions

pest repellants
Proper use of pest repellents requires users to spray or rub the chemical concoction onto the skin. Pixabay

Proper use of pest repellents requires users to spray or rub the chemical concoction onto the skin. As a consequence, some of the active ingredients in the repellent start making their way into the skin. While within the skin, these reactive chemical compounds can irritate cell membranes and even dehydrate cells. 

In the above scenario, red itchy blotches begin to form around the area of application. These blotches typically dissipate with discontinued use of the repellent.  However, some people do experience adverse reactions to the chemicals whereby painful lesions develop on the skin. It is, therefore, advisable to immediately stop using a pest repellant once you notice increased sensitivity on areas of application.


Despite having notable practical benefits, the active ingredients in pest repellents do pose a considerable health risk to users. Still there are some pest removal service providers where they use natural pest repellants and other alternative ways to control pests.

Also Read- Apple to Launch ARM-Based Laptop in 2021: Report

Author Bio:

Dinesh Kumar VM.

I’m an SEO Analyst and blogger outreach expert at ClickDo Ltd. Also work in Google Ads, Facebook Ads & Remarketing. Enjoy writing business & tech related blogs, Contributor of London Business News blog.