Shisha smoking, a new way of addiction, is spreading among youth in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi and this mushroom growth of modern smoking is attracting the under-age youth rapidly.Shisha cafes, constructed in most modern way are attracting the college and university students as they smoke freely at these cafes without any pressure from their elder ones.
Shisha, traditionally known as hookah was considered to be an integral part of rural south Asia. While latest Shisha means flavoured water pipe smoking and different Shisha cafe offer a mixture of crude types of tobacco fermented with molasses and fruits and the sweet odour of fruits conceals the natural smell of tobaccos tar and nicotine.
Dr. Javeria Siddique who runs her clinic in Commercial Market said that it cause diseases like cancer or other ailments.
She said that Shisha smokers should realize that it is far more dangerous than cigarette smoking because the amount of nicotine in shisha cannot be measured due to packing differences.
It is pertinent to mention here that the amount of carbon dioxide inhaled through shisha is very high compared to cigarette smoking and a single shisha smoke is equal to seven or ten cigarettes depending on the packed ingredients.
“Muessel” is usually flavored with apple, mango, banana, strawberry,orange, grape, mint, cappuccino, or other additives.
It is generally sold in boxes or plastic jars decorated with fruit illustrations. Drugs or alcohol is often added to the tobacco. Studies that have examined Shisha smokers have reported high concentrations of carbonmonoxide,nicotine, “tar,” and heavy metals.
These concentrations were as high as or higher than those among cigarette smokers.It has been claimed that more than 100 million people worldwide smoke shisha daily.
It is a common practice in the Middle East, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and some Parts of China.
Ahmed Ali who works in a private firm said, “The research conducted on Shisha use has clearly shown that it has particularly serious health consequences on lungs and heart.
Additional dangers not encountered with cigarette smoking are infectious diseases resulting from pipe sharing and the frequent addition of alcohol or psychoactive drugs to the tobacco.
Asma, who is doing her masters from a private university said “ For youngsters, Shisha use is very exciting glamorous, fashionable and an enjoyable act”.
Under normal Shisha use, the smoke produced from a single pipe use contain approximately the same amount of Nicotine and Tar equivalent to 20 Cigarettes.
Research has also shown that after 45 minutes of Shisha use expired air, carbon monoxide, plasma nicotine and heart rate are significantly elevated.
Health experts suggest that shisha smoking should be subjected to the same regulations as cigarettes and other tobacco products and it should contain health warnings.