Shisha: Health Risk Of Smoking Shisha

Shisha: health risk of smoking shisha

Detrimental health risk of smoking shisha is emerging, although at early stages… the risks are regard to the cardiovascular system, there has been a significant acute rise in cardiovascular markers, such as heart rate, blood pressure and more.

Smoking Shisha:

Shisha is a method of smoking tobacco invented in the 16th century by a physician named Hakim Abul-Fath Gilani. The purpose of the device was to pass the smoke through water in an attempt to ‘purify’ the smoke, an unproven concept that has been repeatedly questioned by the medical community.

The underlying mechanism of a shisha device has remained constant throughout history. However, its assembly has become significantly simpler. Shisha consists of a head that contains tobacco separated from an array of coal by foil. The head is connected to a system of airtight pipes that draw tobacco smoke into a bowl which contains water. Then, as the user inhales through the hose, smoke is drawn in from the bowl to the smoker. Interestingly, the practice of shisha has changed in multiple ways

Other names for a shisha include water pipe, narghile, or hookah, the latter being a word that can also refer to the flavoured tobacco.

Shisha pipes use tobacco sweetened with fruit or molasses sugar, which makes the smoke more aromatic than cigarette smoke. Popular flavourings include apple, plum, coconut, mango, mint, strawberry and cola. These days people can use anything reachable or admirable to them to smoke shisha, It’s uncommon that people have been smoking shisha for centuries in ancient Persia and India. Today, people often smoke shisha as a group, at home or in cafes, bar or lounges. a single puff of shisha may be equivalent to generating the smoke from smoking a whole cigarette.  The average shisha session lasts an hour and, in this time, you can inhale the same amount of smoke similar to 100 cigarettes. (Think again).

Health Risk Of Smoking Shisha:

Some people have misconceptions that smoking shisha is not harmful to their health or not as dangerous as other smoking types, shisha tobacco contains cigarette tobacco, so like cigarettes, it contains nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide and heavy metals, such as arsenic and lead. As a result, shisha smokers are at risk of the same kinds of diseases as cigarette smokers, such as heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease and problems during pregnancy.

Shisha smoking has been reported to disrupt the autonomic regulation of the cardiac cycle, by causing an acute reduction in heart rate variability. This may be associated with increased susceptibility to arrhythmia, systemic inflammation and risk of coronary heart disease. A positive association between coronary artery disease and shisha smoking was reported although the study did not demonstrate statistical significance. Interestingly, serum concentrations of high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol and apolipoprotein (apo) A-1 were found to be significantly lower in shisha smokers than in non-smokers. Moreover, low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol, apo B, triglycerides and malondialdehyde were significantly higher in shisha smokers than in non-smokers. Total antioxidant capacity and vitamin C were also found to be significantly lower in shisha smokers than in non-smokers. (Trusted Source🙂 These findings may implicate shisha smoking as a risk factor for coronary heart disease.

More Facts On Health Risk Of Smoking Shisha: 

Smoking Shisha
Smoking Shisha

The presence of volatile aldehydes has also been reported in shisha smoke, including formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein, propionaldehyde and methacrolein. These chemicals have been correlated with various respiratory disorders, respiratory tract irritation, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. Specifically, formaldehyde and acrolein are both potent carcinogens that may promote the development of leukaemia.

The approximate levels of volatile aldehydes in shisha smoke are significantly higher than in cigarettes, highlighting that shisha may result in a higher incidence of aldehyde-associated diseases.

Shisha New Inventions:

Though new versions of smoking shisha have envolved yet it still poses the same health risk.

Manufacturers have released newer versions of a shisha that use electric heat instead of charcoal. The makers call these e-charcoal heat sources and often market them as a safer alternative to traditional charcoal hookahs.

The CDC says that experts have very little knowledge about the health risks of electronic tobacco products at this stage.

However, the University of Cincinnati reports early research that a team of its chemists is doing to look at the components of smoke generated by e-charcoal. The researchers say they have found that e-charcoal smoke kills 80 per cent of sample lung cells 24 hours after exposure.

This risk is more significant than the higher-toxin charcoal the team tested, which kills 25 per cent of lung cells. The lower-toxin charcoal was found to kill 10 per cent of sample lung cells.

As a result, the researchers conclude that e-charcoal hookah options could potentially be more dangerous than their charcoal counterparts.

Here is the list of the health risk of smoking shisha…

  1. Complications of lung function, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bronchitis.
  2. Increased risk of heart conditions, such as heart disease and heart attack.
  3. Increased risk of cancer, especially lung, throat, and mouth cancer.
  4. Premature skin ageing, since smoking tobacco can decrease the amount of oxygen that reaches the skin.
  5. Increased risk of infectious diseases, such as mononucleosis and oral herpes.

Among all these listed risks of smoking shisha, there seem to be three major aspects detrimental obvious risks which include

Cardiovascular System Damage:

Increased risk of arrhythmia, due to a reduction in heart rate variability.

Increased risk of coronary heart disease due to dysregulation of platelet homeostasis, reduction in HDL levels, increase in LDL levels, systolic BP, diastolic BP and heart rate.


Increased rate of hepatitis, herpes and tuberculosis infection by sharing mouthpieces.


Quadruples risk of lung cancer…

Positive association with the formation of the bladder, prostate, nasopharyngeal and oesophageal cancer…

Positive association with oral dysplasia, squamous cell carcinoma and keratoacanthoma of the lip.


Before you join the group consider that even though there may be substantial confusion regarding the health risk of smoking shisha by healthcare professionals and consumers. Interestingly, recent studies have concluded that shisha smoking leads to significant exposure to PAHs, volatile aldehydes, CO, NO, nicotine, furans and nanoparticles.

These agents have a wide range of effects ranging from cancer formation to respiratory disorders. Furthermore, smoking shisha also carries a cardiovascular risk, leading to a significant acute increase in blood pressure, heart rate and CO levels. Various studies have also described a shisha-induced reduction in heart rate variability, which may contribute to an increased risk of coronary artery disease development. This risk may be further exacerbated by a shisha-induced reduction in HDL-cholesterol levels. Smoking #shisha has also been associated with increased rates of infection, namely tuberculosis, herpes and hepatitis.

Fundamentally, this is caused by sharing mouthpieces while smoking, allowing for commensal and pathogenic organisms to be transmitted between the different users. Finally, a statistically significant association between smoking shisha and the development of lung cancer has been reported, mainly driven by exposure to carcinogens present in both the tobacco and coal. We here at believe that further study is necessary to clarify and define the pathophysiological mechanisms whereby shisha smoking may produce disease. We also believe that in the light of the evidence already available, public awareness of the potential effects of shisha #smoking is required.


About Buchi Trevo 31 Articles
(Buchi Trevo) I love living healthy and I enjoy eating healthy foods too... A health coach and a nutritionist at Buchi-Trevo... drop a comment and let us connect.

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