A series of recently published studies by Dr. Christopher Loffredo of the Georgetown University Medical Center reveal that smoking tobacco through a waterpipe can do more harm than cigarettes to your health.
In an interview with Medical News Today, Dr. Loffredo warned: “People who use these devices don’t realize that they could be inhaling what is believed to be the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes in one typical 30-60 minute session with a waterpipe, because such a large quantity of pure, shredded tobacco is used.” (See here for full coverage.)
The waterpipe is best known as shisha in Egypt, hookah in Pakistan, narghile in Palestine, and “hubbly bubbly” for those who enjoy onomotopeia — becoming something of a phenomenon worldwide. With shisha bars and cafes opening all over the Middle East, Europe, and in major U.S. cities, the device has become part of a nightlife that attracts men, and increasingly women, of all ages.
Traditionally, the shisha pipe has been associated with older men living in poor, rural areas of the Mediterranean. Many in the older generation would be shocked to learn that dance clubs in New York and London offer shisha for up to $16, in addition to the usual cocktails. In some ways it’s been marketed as a status symbol for the cosmopolitan and refined. And yet a fair number of backpackers and hippies have also appropriated the trend — it seems to have widespread appeal.
So few Arab cultural exports have been embraced to this extent by the West. In visiting a shisha cafe, people often gain exposure to Arab music, food, decor, and hospitality. But now the studies say it’s really quite bad for you. Shame.Filed Under Hanaan