People, who smoke Hookah, are in assumption that it is a safer alternative than cigarettes. However several studies have revealed that smoking shisha or Hookah for 1 hour releases up to 4 times the Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons also known as PAHs, and around 30 times the carbon monoxide in comparison to smoking cigarettes. Carbon monoxide is the primary cause of blockage in coronary arteries, while the PAHs have been deemed as mutagenic and carcinogenic. Smoking Hookah which is extremely fashionable amongst the youth can also causes diseases of the esophagus, tongue, bladder and gums, while also causing several cancers. The effects of the second hand smoke of a Hookah are around 10 to 20 times worse than that of a cigarette.
Executive director of the Anti Smoking Society, Muhammad Al Mayouf has stated that the treatment of diseases related to smoking cigarettes have cost the Kingdom around SAR 10 billion over the last 25 years. He added that smoking Hookah for an hour is equivalent of smoking a pack of 20 cigarettes. This is something which shows how smoking Hookah is more damaging than cigarettes. To treat a person who has cancer caused by smoking usually costs between SAR 80,000 to SAR 250,000. The society does not treat cancer patients but it does offer help to smokers to give up the habit, through various programs.
Around 20 percent of those who smoke cigarettes tend to also smoke Hookah on a daily basis, especially when they are in the company of friends. Same is the case for both men and women due to the immense popularity of Hookah amongst the youth. It has been discovered that around 60 percent of the symptoms of shortness of breath are attributed to collection of liquids in the lungs which also increase chances of stroke or heart attack.
The pulmonologist consultant at the King Saud Hospital, Dr, Read Al Mahwah has stated that those who smoke hookah, will face COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease as well as coronary artery disease and heart attacks in the long run. He adds that there is a serious misconception that smoking Hookah is less damaging than cigarettes however it is not true, adding that the women are more vulnerable to the negative effects in comparison to men.
An Arab expatriate working for a local café, Abu Helmi has stated that around 30 percent of the customers of the café are over the age of 40 and the majority of them come to smoke Hookah. He added that monthly profits from the sale of Hookah are huge and often reach into the tens of thousands. Those under the age of 18 are however not allowed to order Hookah at the café. Nouf stated that she has been smoking Hookah for around 10 years and she can’t stop. She had started it just for fun, however she thinks she is now addicted to it. She says that she knows it’s bad for her but she can or maybe will not leave Hookah.
Source: Saudi Gazette
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