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An hour of smoking sheesha can be equal to smoking up to 200 cigarettes,
experts warn

Warning over smoking sheesha inside Ramadan tents

MANAMA, June 23, 2015

Smoking sheesha inside Ramadan tents can be up to 200 times more harmful than smoking a cigarette outside, an expert has warned.

A one-hour sheesha session can be equal to smoking 100 to 200 cigarettes - with the effect compounded by smoking the traditional water pipe inside, according to the Health Ministry’s Public Health Directorate Disease Control Department’s Anti-Smoking and Tobacco group head Dr Ejlal Al Alawi, in a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

“This is the time of the year that people engage in smoking sheesha inside Ramadan tents as a habit, unfortunately under the pretext of spending the time in the joy of the season,” she said.

“The painful truth is that these tents cause a major health problem for smokers and also to non-smokers, who are sitting inside and exposed to the smoke.

“The reason for this is the amount of smoke inhaled over a long period of time while sitting in the company of other smokers.

“One session of smoking sheesha for an hour is comparable to smoking 100 to 200 cigarettes, contrary to the popular belief that the sheesha smoking is less harmful or better for your health than cigarette smoking.”

Dr Al Alawi cautioned that sheesha smoking can also lead to the spread of infectious diseases.

“Diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis and influenza can spread through the use of sheesha,” she said.

“The concentration of tar in the pipe, which is carcinogenic, is much higher than in cigarettes.

“Also, the artificial flavours and coal used in sheesha can affect a person’s health negatively, and damage the respiratory and non-respiratory organs.

“It can damage blood vessels and could increase the risk of blood clots while reducing the amount of oxygen transported through the blood cells.

“Smoking sheesha or cigarettes can increase the risk of cancer and chronic obstructive lung diseases, vascular diseases, gum disease and tumours of the mouth and oesophagus.

“For women in particular, smoking causes premature ageing and wrinkles.”

Dr Al Alawi also highlighted that addiction to tobacco can prove fatal due to the presence of nicotine.

“Nicotine, the chemical substance that is base of all these products, is highly toxic and in large enough quantities can lead to respiratory muscle paralysis and death,” she said.

“Smoking is responsible for 90 per cent of lung cancer deaths, while smokers account for five to 25 per cent of throat cancer deaths.

“Smokers are six times more likely to have oral cancers than non-smokers, while male smokers are more likely to die from stomach cancer compared to non-smokers.

“Smoking causes 55 per cent of deaths due to stroke and is a major cause of heart disease.”

The doctor also warned of other lesser effects from smoking including bad breath, tooth decay, gum inflammation, loss of appetite, insomnia, fatigue, stomach ulcers, memory impairment and frequent headaches. - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Smoking | Sheesha |

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