The Shisha Trend: Should You Indulge?

Hookah bars are becoming more and more popular across Canada. These days, the exotic waterpipes can be found gracing lounge tables at some of our trendiest young professional (YP) hangouts. Originating from the Middle East and Asia, hookah pipes are traditionally used to smoke a combination of tobacco, herbs, fruits, and oils, called shisha. The aromatic scents and flavours, sexy pipe design, and the relaxed vibe common in hookah hot spots all give the impression that smoking shisha is an interesting, sensual and cultural experience. You’ve tried it once, maybe a couple times, and you liked it, but as a health-conscious (i.e. non-smoking) YP, you can’t help but wonder how this popular new activity might be affecting your body. So before making it a regular happy hour habit, help clear the air regarding shisha smoking by puffing on these notable points:

The Good
Aside from the fun factor, there are a couple actual advantages to enjoying a little shisha for those who already consider themselves “social smokers” (PS, if that’s you, you may want to check out this past Notable article: Still Smoking Just When You Drink?). For one, it smells lovely. Shisha allows you to smoke without enveloping yourself in that awful cigarette smell that everyone around you hates. Additionally, due to the way in which hookah pipes are designed and used, you also don’t have to worry about that other nasty byproduct of stained teeth. If you happen to be a social smoker already, partaking of hookah in place of cigarettes does offer some mild benefits.

The Bad
That said, when you are enjoying that coconut or green tea-flavoured shisha, don’t be fooled into thinking you are doing something “healthy” or “natural.” We hate to burst your smoke-filled bubble, but according to the Canadian Lung Association (CLA):

Existing evidence shows that smoking waterpipes carries many of the same health risks and has been linked to the same diseases caused by cigarette smoking. Smoke from waterpipes contains many toxic substances known to cause lung cancer, heart disease, and other diseases. These toxic substances include nicotine, carbon monoxide, tar and heavy metals

Doesn’t sound quite so exotic anymore, does it?  Sure, you can add little a fruit to it, use water to smoke it, make it smell and taste a little nicer, but tobacco is tobacco, and we’re all just too smart to pretend we don’t what that means. And no matter how you dress it up, nicotine is nicotine. If you are a former smoker, indulging in some seemingly innocent hookah fun has the great potential to lead you back to cigarettes. So not worth it! And if you never were a nicotine addict, why the heck would you risk becoming one now?

The Ugly
In further comparisons between hookah smoking and cigarettes, research has also shown that a shisha session, which usually lasts 20 minuets to an hour, actually exposes users to the equivalent of up to 100 cigarettes. That’s right, 100!

And if that wasn’t enough to gross you out, how about this: the CLA also states that due to the social practice of passing the hookah mouth piece from person to person, smoking from a waterpipe can also “increase the likelihood of transmitting communicable diseases such as herpes, mononucleosis, tuberculosis, hepatitis and meningococcal disease.” Gross.

Of course, everything is cool in moderation, but while it may look fun and like everybody’s doing it, we’re not 16 anymore. This is no time to take on new unhealthy habits.

#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)


Cover Image from: Hookah

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