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Bad News for Shisha Lovers

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.

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43 Responses to “Bad News for Shisha Lovers”

  1. Well, the shisha is more Turkish in origin than Arab, but you make good points nonetheless.

    Posted by Doghouse | October 7, 2006, 8:44 am
  2. Dr. Christopher Loffredo is a Zionist…

    Posted by Fayyad | October 7, 2006, 3:51 pm
  3. yes i heard once it equals 80 ciggrettes!!tks for good post

    Posted by Red Rose | October 8, 2006, 12:00 am
  4. I heard that Dr. Loffredo also thinks that kamar deen is too sticky.

    Posted by Nadeem | October 8, 2006, 9:12 am
  5. Smoke up. I wouldn’t want to infringe on your cultural mores.

    Posted by Reynaud | October 10, 2006, 8:34 am
  6. $16 bucks a pop!? I need to open up a hookah/shisha/nargeeleh/hubbly bubbly bar.

    That’s too bad, because the experience is lovely and it smells 80 times better than those nasty cancer sticks.

    Posted by ummali | October 10, 2006, 9:55 am
  7. I have smoked shisha for about 2 years consistently and I enjoy the social and serene aspect of it. No matter what, it is smoking but I have my doubts, phisiologically, that it equals cigarettes in any way. I smoke less often than a cigarette smoker and the chemicals that keep cigarettes burning are not present in shisha tobacco.

    Posted by Grant | October 11, 2006, 1:56 am
  8. i think you may have some points in what you are saying but im a teenager and find that shisha helps me keep away from alot of worse things..i do not believe shisha is actuali that bad for you as you can buy flavouring with less tobbaco…i smoke shisha very often and atleast 1 time a week it tastez and smells alot better then cigarettes and cant be smoked as often either how are you going too carry a hookah around with you all the timee..also it is part of the arab culture and who are you too say it should not be done all of the fatty foods the english and americans eat are not good for you either ?!?! shisha calms you down and im going too stick too what i love doing and thats joining my hookah on a friday night and socialising with others x Nicki x

    Posted by nicki | October 27, 2006, 4:31 pm
  9. nikki me too! i didnt think it was too bad, till the other day my friend didnt think it was such a good idea as it was harmful for your health. I enjoy it quite alot too, but i dont believe that it can equal upto 30cigerettes!? :S

    Sin-D (,”)

    Posted by sinD | November 16, 2006, 3:17 pm
  10. IAM A TEEN AND I HAVE RECENTLY

    STARTED SMOKING SHISHA I ENJOY AND

    I HAVE FUN WITH MY MATES ALSO ITS

    A GOOD WAY TO SOCIALISE AND ITS

    NOT VERY EXPENSIVE. ANYWAY I ONLY

    HAVE ABOUT 1 EVERY 2 WEEKS ITS

    MUCH BETTER THAN SMOKING THOSE

    CANCER STICKS THAT UMMALI SAID

    ANYWAY THOSE THAT DO SMOKE IT

    CONTINUE HAVING FUN AND ALSO I

    PERSONALLY THINK STRAWBERRY

    FLAVOURED IS THE BEST SEE YA.

    Posted by Anonymous | December 14, 2006, 9:59 am
  11. hey smoking shisha is good, because you dont get addicted to it. plus its tradition so help your self dude

    Posted by Anonymous | January 5, 2007, 7:04 am
  12. I recently started smoking shisha…and i love it. yes there is a problem with it ..but its not too bad. Watch out for getting addicted though cause now im smoking 3-4 X a week…

    Posted by Anonymous | January 30, 2008, 12:17 am
  13. well shisha as far as my research shows originated in north west india many many years ago and got improved in style and glass in the persian empire and then moved around to arabs and turks….arabs say it came from arabs, turkish says it came from turkey but hey when shisha was invented or found, there was the big persian empire…just like backgammon where the say it came from arabs or turks, where it actually was the game that was made in the persian empire and given to the king of india as a gift in return for the chess game that they game to the persian king as a gift….

    Posted by Babak | March 29, 2008, 6:53 pm
    • I agree with the fact that hookah/sheesha originates from India but you are wrong about the King of India, because India has never really had one king, she's always had "kings" for particular provinces.

      Posted by JTR | April 20, 2012, 12:51 pm
  14. Can i just say thatt i don't understand why on every document on NARGILAH it sais that "in Palestine they call it "Narigile" its ISRAEL not Palestine.. get it rightt!

    Posted by Anonymous | May 15, 2008, 9:24 am
  15. is one puff = to 13 sigrets ?

    Posted by Anonymous | August 1, 2008, 7:36 am
  16. Shisha is definatly bad for you research has proven it. just look at some scientific reviews

    Posted by nas | June 28, 2009, 3:36 pm
  17. I love smoking Shisha. I don't care where it came from. I have found that i am not addicted to it, it doesn't make me stink, it doesn't make my breath smell bad…..it does not have a lasting stench like cigarettes. I love that it is cultural and a social outlet. My son is at school in Lebanon and was in Cairo as well for school and has brought the tradition back to our family and we love it!

    Posted by Keekeee | July 25, 2009, 2:14 am
  18. If shisha is worse than cigs. why is it that when I puff a sheesh I dont cough and when I take one puff of cig. I do?
    If shisha is worse than cigs. Why is it our bodies do not get addicted?
    If shisha is worse than cigs. Why is it that the water darkens?
    If shisha is worse than cigs. Why is there many other chemicals in cigs. whereas shisha is 100% tobacco and fruit flavouring and sugar?
    If shisha is worse than cigs. Why is it there is 0% Tar
    If shisha is worse than cigs. Why is it our skin or teeth or facial hair doesn't get discoloured, smelly breath and clothes and marks on the ceiling?
    If shisha is worse than cigs. Why is it used as a social thing?
    If shisha is worse than cigs. Why is it helped my friends (Who has Asma) fitness in martial arts?

    I'm sure I can think of many other reasons why cigarettes are easilly more harmful than shisha. But I think You've got the idea by now.

    Posted by AL FAKHER BEST | October 14, 2009, 8:16 pm
  19. to annoymous it is PALESTINE and NOT ISRAEL

    Posted by annoymous | October 20, 2009, 4:59 pm
  20. Have you ever blazed up some WEED in it? Did it work good?

    Posted by awesome | November 6, 2009, 12:14 pm
    • yes l have and its good …..l love my shisha, am a big time smoker, l have been smoking shisha for 6 years now about 5 to 7 sessions a day and dont have health problems or anything so stop putting down shisha because if people want to smoke they will aight peace to my shisha lovers

      Posted by abraham | November 26, 2009, 6:10 pm
    • Much more sociable than a joint, better for the days of summer and seems to last quite a while. Just make sure you mix a worthwhile amount of herb in with your shisha tobacco. :) Nothing in my view is worse than smoking cigarettes healthwise, though it's down to choice.

      Posted by Anon. | November 14, 2010, 8:54 am
  21. well really shisha can be bad if u do it every single day, every single hour, every single minute. but i only take mine out like every two months. It is just really PURE 100% TOBACCO, NO CHEMICALS, NO TAR, NO NICOTINE. just TOBACCO, SUGAR, and FLAVOURING. it is nothing like cigarettes. u should only be careful at the quality of the coal. if it is rubbish, it will crumble and fall into the tobacco. But i pay for the best quality ones, and u shudnt really have a problem if u use the sieve that comes with it. I dont see why the people should give it up just like that when your evidence is false. ROSE FLAVOUR FTW

    Posted by anon | December 23, 2009, 11:19 pm
  22. shisha is the best!! i smoke it once every week with mates and it gets me laid back and relax, usually when im on ciggarett i run out and i get aggressive and hit people but now i dont even touch ciggarett anymore, im with shisha!!

    Posted by joey | March 23, 2010, 2:25 am
  23. one big puff of shisha may equal to the same volume of smoke that comes out of 30 cigarettes but you minus all the 300+ toxins and chemicals that are added into cigarettes. so if you smoke 30 cigarettes then its going to be like a thousands times worse than having one puff of shisha. logical. lol SHISHA 4 LIFE

    Posted by Annon | July 10, 2010, 1:03 am
  24. where's the reason u say its bad? What chemical that shisha has that could make ur body unhealthy? Why must u say all the history and tradision? Get to the point! If there is a chemical in it that make ur body bcame unhealthy.. Proove it.. Dont just sit at ur office and say its bad.. Do some experiment pls..

    Posted by jason | July 31, 2010, 12:20 pm
  25. I dont see how it is bad for you cause the tobacco is mostly fruit and you can buy certain types with 0%nicotine and tar and also the coal that lights it isnt really bad for you either this is dumb.
    I have ben smoking shisha for bout a year now and it hasnt seemed to have an effect on my health :/

    Posted by Tierne | August 16, 2010, 7:56 am
  26. yea boii shisha is mean lol

    Posted by clarkcyn | August 20, 2010, 9:51 am
  27. im a cig smoker and recently tried shisha, and the first puff alone taught me that it was less harmful than cigarettes im switching over

    Posted by guest | November 1, 2010, 3:22 am
  28. I say; life is short and you only live once (unless it will be proven else way) so don't avoid the small pleasures that make your life worthwhile…. sure it may be not healthy for you but there are ways to overcome it, like smoking in a moderate (seldomly) way and combine some sport with it…. I LOVE LIFE!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by Theallknowing | March 11, 2011, 4:46 am
  29. Smoking also causes several diseases, which includes emphysema. Lung cancer is another negative long term effect of smoking. Men who smoke are ten times more likely to die from lung cancer then those who don't smoke.

    Posted by ecigboss.com | September 22, 2013, 6:58 am

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