Hookah smoking particularly harmful?

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Federal Institute for Risk Assessment warns of the risks of hookah smoking

Smoking hookahs - so-called shishas - is becoming increasingly popular among young people. The supposedly more harmless variant of tobacco consumption is preferred by many adolescents to cigarette consumption, but sometimes harbors even more far-reaching health risks than filterless cigarettes, according to the current warning from the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR)

Overall, according to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment from hookah smoking, there is a risk of similar health problems as with normal cigarettes. The addictive potential of hookahs and other types of tobacco use is also comparable. However, since the special shisha tobacco contains a significantly higher proportion of humectants that release dangerous pollutants when smoking shisha, the hookah smoke is even more toxic than that of filterless cigarettes, reports the BfR. The experts at the Federal Institute are therefore extremely critical of the growing popularity of shisha smoking among young people.

Shisha smoke contains numerous dangerous pollutants "Tobacco smoke remains a poisonous mixture - even if it comes from a hookah," warns the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. The health risks from hookah smoking are sometimes even higher than from conventional tobacco consumption. In the hookah, the tobacco is not burned, but smeared at a low temperature, the BfR experts explained. The water contained in the pipe does not serve to filter the smoke, but only cools it down. The BfR warns that the inhaled unfiltered means that the toxic and carcinogenic substances created during the charring process, such as "acrolein, arsenic, bez (a) pyrene and formaldehyde or the likewise toxic heavy metals chromium, nickel, cobalt and lead" get into the lungs. The tar usually contained in tobacco smoke also gets into the airways in this way. There, the tar sticks to the alveoli and contributes significantly to the development of the smoker's cough typical of long-term tobacco use. According to the BfR, there is also a risk of nicotine addiction when smoking shisha, since people usually smoke over a longer period of time and the body even absorbs significantly more nicotine than with normal cigarette smoking.

Shisha smoking more dangerous than cigarettes Although the ingredients in the smoke of cigarettes and hookahs are largely the same, their amounts differ considerably, reports the BfR. The water pipe tobacco contains a particularly high proportion of dangerous humectants, such as glycerin. In an experimental study, the BfR was able to prove that most of these humectants evaporate during shisha smoking and can be inhaled with the smoke. In this way, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment warns that there may be far more serious health problems than tobacco use. For example, inhaling high concentrations of glycerin or 1,2-propanediol could "lead to changes in the cell epithelium in the larynx or irritation of the nasal mucosa", explained Andreas Hensel, President of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. In Germany, the humectant content in hookah tobacco is limited to five percent by the tobacco ordinance, but if the limit value is stimulated, the hookah smoke may contain a considerably higher level of pollutants than in normal cigarette smoke. In general, the higher the humidity, the greater the smoke formation.

Numerous health risks from hookah smoking The BfR's experimental study on the risks of hookah smoking has also shown that hookah smoking contains a large number of other pollutants such as carbon monoxide (CO), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNA). are included. According to the BfR, the proven pollution of hookah smoke suggests that regular shisha smoking is associated with health risks similar to cigarette smoking. The BfR warns that typical occurrences of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, vascular disease, an increased risk of lung cancer and potential harm to the child when smoking during pregnancy are mentioned. In addition, according to the BfR experts "there is a risk of transmission of lip sores (herpes), jaundice (hepatitis) and pulmonary disease tuberculosis, especially when smoking a water pipe, if the mouthpiece is not changed before another stroke." (Fp)

Also read:
Shisha smoking is unhealthy
Special form of lung cancer in smokers

Image: Daniel Knußmann / pixelio.de

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