Shisha could be as dangerous as cigarettes


by Rumbold
24th August, 2009 at 11:56 am    

Although this is only one study, it is interesting:

“Shisha is an Arabic water-pipe in which fruit-scented tobacco is burnt using coal, passed through an ornate water vessel and inhaled through a hose.

The Centre for Tobacco Control Research said it was difficult to know exactly how much carbon monoxide one cigarette produced, due to the differences in smokers’ inhalations.

But measuring carbon monoxide in exhaled breath showed a normal non-smoker’s level to be three parts CO per million parts of air (ppm) (3% of blood not working properly), a light smoker to have 10-20% of blood not working properly, and a heavy smoker 30-40%.”

I suppose it will give the anti-smoking people something to do. Designing new posters, calling for film scenes with shisha to be rated 18+, and walking around the streets badgering people about their habits.


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  1. pickles

    New blog post: Shisha could be as dangerous as cigarettes http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/5629




  1. Andy Gilmour — on 24th August, 2009 at 1:06 pm  

    “I suppose it will give the anti-smoking people something to do.” (ooh, get the lofty tone of the casual put-down…meeow!)

    Well, that rather depends on what the effects of passive Shisha-ing are, now doesn’t it?

    Not quite up to yer usual standards, Mr.R., chucking a strawman in at the end like that, surely…?

  2. Don — on 24th August, 2009 at 1:26 pm  

    Rumbold,

    If you could reverse the anti-smoking campaign all the way back to the days I well remember of busses, trains, cinemas, pubs, cafes, wedding receptions, libraries and hospitals being filled with a thick smog of nicotine, would you?

    As a smoker at the time I grumbled as each bastion fell (in my first year teaching in UK sixth formers had ash-trays on their desks so the could smoke during lessons).

  3. Kulvinder — on 24th August, 2009 at 2:32 pm  

    If you could reverse the anti-smoking campaign all the way back to the days I well remember of busses, trains, cinemas, pubs, cafes, wedding receptions, libraries and hospitals being filled with a thick smog of nicotine, would you?

    If it was private property i would (and i speak as a non-smoker).

  4. Sunny — on 24th August, 2009 at 4:59 pm  

    Lol – no comment Rumbold.

  5. Don — on 24th August, 2009 at 5:30 pm  

    Kulvinder,

    Which of those places would you define as private property?

  6. Rumbold — on 24th August, 2009 at 6:33 pm  

    Andy:

    Oh, the anti-smoking industry annoys me. It is mostly just a job creation scheme. It is the best example of non-necessary government that I can think of (which is especially galling when there isn’t enough money for rape crisis centres).

    Don:

    I have no problem with banning smoking in places where people don’t really have a choice about going there (or not much of one anyway), such as hospitals and schools. It is wrong to ban smoking in places like bars and pubs, where there is plenty of choice.

    As Kulvinder says, there is also the question of private property. The state should be able to ban smoking on property which it owns. But not on someone else’s property, unless it falls into the first category in the first paragraph.

    Sunny:

    Heh. I wasn’t thinking of anything in particular.

  7. Kulvinder — on 24th August, 2009 at 7:15 pm  

    Which of those places would you define as private property?

    This is open to interpretation but going by the general structure of society; cinemas, pubs and cafes.

    The policy regarding libraries, hospitals and local public transport would (should) depend on the local council/government

  8. Tom — on 24th August, 2009 at 7:50 pm  

    This seems a bit suspect. Although it’s possible the article may be misquoting the research, they only appear to have look at CO content. As far as I’m aware this is not a significant cause of smoking related health problems.

  9. Tom — on 24th August, 2009 at 7:51 pm  

    They state: “High levels of carbon monoxide can lead to brain damage and unconsciousness.”

    This is true if you sit in a room with a malfunctioning boiler for hours, but I’ve never heard of this as an effect of smoking.

  10. Don — on 24th August, 2009 at 8:07 pm  

    Well pubs, although private businesses, are also a public facility and in many villages may be the only generally available communal space. Personally I’d say that the health risks would justify asking for at least a part of them to be smoke-free. Ditto cinemas. In a city I don’t see why a pub or club could not designate themselves as a ‘smoking bar’ or some such. Cafes? Yeah, I’d say that was a free choice unless they had some sort of effective monopoly.

    Just because somewhere is private property doesn’t mean that what you do there does not effect the more general good.

    But the net result has been that these places are actually more pleasant and less harmful than they were. I do think that designating outdoor areas as non-smoking is going too far. There is no chance of harming anyone else and if someone needs a ciggie break it is unreasonable to make them leave the grounds of the institution. That is edging into making a moral judgement, in fact bullying, rather than responding to a public health issue.

    So we agree that regulating smoking is reasonable, just a question of where the line is drawn?

  11. Don — on 24th August, 2009 at 8:10 pm  

    Rumbold,

    It is the best example of non-necessary government that I can think of…

    Then you are not trying hard enough.

  12. Rumbold — on 24th August, 2009 at 8:43 pm  

    Then give us more examples Don. Let’s have a huge bonfire.

  13. Don — on 24th August, 2009 at 9:03 pm  

    Conkers? Yo-yos? Removing Ghost bikes? Petty stuff about ‘vulgar’ memorials? hoodies? OK, not all central government but, c’mon, you’re the libertarian, you must have archives of stuff more egregious than not filling public spaces with noxious fumes.

  14. Rumbold — on 25th August, 2009 at 9:25 am  

    The banning of proper lightbulbs to be replaced with mercury-laden, migrane-inducing ones is a good example. Another winner from our friends in Brussels.

  15. Eddie D — on 25th August, 2009 at 10:49 pm  

    Science by Press Release, the Anti-Smoking lobby are getting desperate.

    http://www.pr-inside.com/bbc-accused-of-gross-exaggeration-in-shisha-worse-than-cigarettes-story-r1453218.htm

  16. Emma — on 27th January, 2010 at 12:08 am  

    Shisha is actually WORSE than cigerettes! Just because something is considered socially acceptable doesn’t automatically make it “safe.” I have lived in the middle east when shisha was not trendy here in the states and all the underaged kids would smoke it on weekends (yep, they didn’t ask for I.D. where I used to live.) It’s annoying and hypocritical when alleged non-smokers go on about hating smoke, only to later ask, “wanna go out for shisha?” *face palm*
    And for the record, no I don’t smoke anything. Not only do I hate the smell, I am asthmatic too! So it’s pretty insulting and unfair that people trivialize the effects of smoking and second-hand smoke. I’m the one who has to stay up the whole night coughing, sneezing and having my inhaler within reach due to an inevitable asthma attack after being in direct contact with a smoker, shisha or otherwise. And with regards to shisha, I noticed that whenever I was around that sickly sweet and overpowering smell, I’d end up with the worst headache. That’s gotta count for something!

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