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|Sheesha Smokers: Beware! (Hukka)
Research by Eng. Iqbal A. Khan
Sheesha is a water pipe widely used
in Saudi Arabia to smoke jurak or moasel-a tobacco-fruit mixture cooked to produce a
dark-colored paste. The mixture is burnt by an electrical device or more commonly by
charcoal. The produced smoke passes through water at the base of the sheesha and a
long tube before it is inhaled.
Many people consider sheesha t
be less harmful than smoking cigarettes. But according to a study conducted at King
Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, sheesha can be even more harmful. Sheesha smokers
absorb more carbon monoxide than do cigarette smokers, putting themselves at greater risk
for coronary heart disease, arteriosclerosis and chronic respiratory disease. It can
also retard fetal growth.
Sheesha smokers using charcoal have higher levels of carbon monoxide in their blood
than those using an electrical device. Carbon monoxide absorption is greatly
increased when sheesha is smoked just prior to sleeping. Even minimal exposure to
carbon monoxide is known to be harmful and people who smoke sheesha as little as once a
day put themselves at risk. According to the study 15 minutes of smoking sheesha is
equivalent to smoking one cigarette. The researchers defined a smoker as
anyone who smoked 15-30 grams of jurak each day.
A study conducted on adult males suggests that sheesha smoking may be
responsible for abnormal changes in their chromosomes. Another study concluded that
regular sheesha smokers carry a risk of deforming their teeth. And although not
proven, it is suspected that sheesha smoking may lead to cancer.
Facts about sheesha:
- Symptoms reported by sheesha smokers include
headaches, blurred vision, palpitation and dizziness.
- Sheesha smokers have higher levels of carbon
monoxide in their blood than cigarette smokers.
- Burning jurak with coal results in greater
absorption of carbon monoxide than when an electrical device used.
- Smoking sheesha just before sleeping greatly
increase absorption of carbon monoxide.
- Sheesha smoking may increase the risk of heart
disease, arterioscleroses and chronic respiratory disease.
- Sheesha smoking stunts fetal growth.
- Sheesha smoke may trigger an asthma attack.
- Sheesha smokers exhibit higher levels of total
cholesterol than cigarette smokers.
- Smoking sheesha increases gastric acidity, thus
increasing the chance of peptic ulcers.
- Passing the sheesha from person to person is
unhygienic and may result in transmission of communicable diseases.
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