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Shisha vs Cigarettes: The Myth Busted

28 Jun 2023

Shisha vs Cigarettes: The Myth Busted

Disclaimer: The information below is for research and information purposes only.

When it comes to indulging in the age-old practice of hookah smoking, the wisps of smoke carry along a host of misconceptions.

Two prevalent forms of smoking - shisha (or hookah) and cigarettes, often find themselves pitted against each other in the health debate arena. This article aims to extinguish the myths and fan the flames of truth about these smoking practices.

What’s in the Smoke?

Let’s light up the differences first. Shisha involves smoking flavoured tobacco relatively known as molasses or shisha tobacco through a water pipe, where it is usually heated up by coco charcoal, while cigarettes are tightly rolled paper containing tobacco and other additives.

The smoke from Shisha tobacco is cooled and partially filtered through water before being inhaled through a hose. On the other side, cigarette smoke is inhaled directly, containing thousands of chemicals, including around 70 known carcinogens.

The Water Filter Illusion

One of the most prominent myths surrounding shisha is the water filter's perceived safety net. The water does cool the smoke and trap some heavier particles. However, it doesn’t make it harmless.

Although, most, if not all experienced hookah smokers tend to bum puff the smoke, you may not be inhaling as much carbon monoxide, nicotine, and other carcinogens, as you would with cigarettes, however you’re still exposing yourself to these harmful chemicals.

Playing the Numbers Game

A popular question which leads to misbelief swirls around like the smoke itself – Is one session of shisha is equivalent to smoking 100-200 cigarettes? The truth is more complex.

Its like asking how many apples you have to eat to equal one orange.

Shisha tobacco such as Crown Tobacco is made up of a flavour mixture and pure tobacco without the added chemicals and ingredients such as Acetone, Butane and Lead generally added into cigarettes.

Yes, a shisha session, involves inhaling more smoke. However, one cigarette contains up to 20 milligrams of nicotine, whereas shisha tobacco would contain anywhere between 2 – 10 milligrams of nicotine.

Intensity and Frequency

The cool shisha smoke can lead to deeper inhalation, while cigarettes generally involve shorter, more frequent puffs.

However, cigarette smokers often light up multiple times a day, while shisha might be an occasional indulgence. This repeated exposure can accumulate toxins in cigarette smokers over time at an alarming rate.

Oral vs. Pulmonary Battle

Let’s address “bum puffing,” holding shisha smoke in the mouth without inhaling. This still exposes your mouth to toxins, risking oral health.

In contrast, inhaling cigarette smoke attacks the lungs directly. The former is like a sneak attack on a castle, while the latter is storming the gates.

The Unspoken Risk: Dependency

Nicotine is the puppeteer controlling the addiction strings. Shisha sessions, despite being less frequent, can still pack a punch in nicotine exposure, especially during prolonged sessions. Cigarettes are more insidious; the frequent exposure throughout the day keeps the nicotine levels consistent.

Extinguishing the Debate

Choosing between consuming shisha and cigarettes is like weighing the dangers of walking on a tightrope vs. a minefield; both are perilous.

Same goes for choosing between eating McDonalds or Hungry Jacks, the choice should not be between two harmful indulgences but opting for health.

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