In the Orient smoking a shisha (shisha) is a tradition and is a significant part of Arab culture. In recent years, hookah smoking, shisha, has also become established in Germany. Especially in cities, there is a wide range of shisha bars and hookah restaurants where the hookah can be consumed in public. Often the shisha smoking is seen as far more harmless alternative to the cigarette. But experts point out that even smoking a hookah can pose a health hazard.
Shisha smoking: Popular with teenagers
Shisha is very popular especially among teenagers and young adults. In convivial round is met among friends, together you smoke the hookah. Their origin are hookahs from the Orient.
A hookah consists of a glass container filled with water and a column of smoke. The so-called tobacco head is filled with special tobacco. The tobacco is then inhaled via a long tube via a mouthpiece. The tobacco in the hookah is added with fruity aromas that make the tobacco far tastier than usual. Exactly in it however experts and physicians see the problem.
Hookah and cigarettes in comparison
Because just because the inhaled tobacco in a shisha does not taste bitter, a hookah can serve as a so-called gateway drug. In addition, the tobacco smoke of a hookah smells pleasantly sweet, in contrast to the smoke of a cigarette. Health risks of a hookah are largely underestimated by the taste and smell.
So many parents do not know that hookahs can be harmful. But just as with cigarettes, the tobacco of a shisha can also contain harmful substances such as nicotine, carbon monoxide, tar, lead or nickel.
If you want to compare how many cigarettes correspond to the smoking of a hookah, there are two methods to use: one method measures the volume of smoke, the other measures the amount of cotinine in the urine. Nicotine is metabolized in the body, creating cotinine. This is then excreted in the urine.
Comparison of smoke volumes
If you smoke a hookah with friends, you need about an hour for it. According to the drug and addiction report of the Federal Government, each participant draws about 100 times in the shisha in these 60 minutes. Approximately 500 milliliters of smoke are inhaled per turn. Compared to smoking a cigarette, which is smoked in about 12 50-milliliter puffs in a few minutes, this is equivalent to the smoke volume of 100 cigarettes.
However, that does not mean that smoking an hour hookah is as harmful as 100 cigarettes. According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, meaningful comparisons can only be made on the basis of nicotine intake.
Comparison of cotinine levels
If one smokes a hookah per day, the cotinine content in the urine corresponds to the consumption of ten cigarettes a day. Smoking shisha only occasionally every four days is comparable to consuming two cigarettes a day.
Lack of hygiene and tobacco as risk factors
It is also a mistake that the existing water of the hookah filters the tobacco and cleans it, so to speak. Even if the smoke of a hookah is not inhaled directly as in a cigarette, an increased amount of nicotine enters the bloodstream. It should not be forgotten that especially with shisha smoking is often inhaled deeper and more intensively than with a cigarette.
Misleading is the summary of 0 percent tar on the special shisha tobaccos. But tar is always when the tobacco is heated, which is the case with the hookah. Incidentally, it is not just the tobacco and its pollutants that pose a potential health risk. Similarly, poor hygiene can lead to infections such as hepatitis or herpes. Because when several people share a mouthpiece while shisha smoking, leftover saliva can transmit diseases.
Addictiveness by smoking the hookah
Smoking and addiction are close together. The trigger for addiction to smoking is nicotine. And this is also available with a hookah. Whether cigarettes are much more likely to be addicted to addiction than shisha smoking or vice versa is not yet proven to be sufficient. However, it is clear that smoking hookah is by no means conducive to health. Arguments of shisha smokers that consuming a hookah leads to the relaxation of mind and body, keep doctors against the fact that an actual stress reduction in the body can not be demonstrated by a hookah.
At the moment there is still a lot of research about shisha. Nevertheless, there are already binding facts:
- Shisha is often referred to as a "tasty" starter drug by flavored tobacco
- significantly higher nicotine concentration in the blood detectable than after smoking a cigarette
- Cardiovascular patients should refrain from shisha smoking altogether
- Shisha smoking during pregnancy can have negative consequences for the unborn baby's health
- increased risk of infections such as herpes
- Nicotine can be addictive, regardless of how it is consumed