If you're living in the Arab world, you know just how common shisha is. But, its impact on your health should get you rethinking the frequency in which you smoke it.
Turns out, a single shisha session is equivalent to smoking more than a pack of cigarettes, according to a newly released study. Thus, the negative effects on your health is just as bad.
The study - conducted by researchers from Brighton and Sussex Medical School - found that smoking shisha "significantly increases" a person's risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity. It is being dubbed as the largest ever study to explore shisha's impact on one's health.
The research saw 9,840 participants from Iran take part. Of those, 6,742 were non-smokers, 976 were ex-smokers, 864 were cigarette smokers, 1,067 were hookah smokers, and 41 were both cigarette and hookah smokers. After filling out questionnaires, blood was drawn for analysis.
The results revealed that "obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and dyslipidemia were positively associated with hookah smoking while negatively associated with cigarette smoking," the study stated.
Both metabolic syndrome and dyslipidemia are illnesses not associated with cigarettes.
"It is unclear why hookah smoking is associated with obesity and diabetes. It is possible that the toxins in the smoke stimulate an inflammatory response that causes tissues to become resistant to the effects of the hormone insulin, that regulates glucose in the blood," said Professor Gordon Ferns, Head of the Department of Medical Education Brighton and Sussex Medical School, according to The Telegraph.
But, shisha has spread beyond just the Arab world. In fact, a 2018 study carried out by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that shisha smoking "accounted for over half of the tobacco smoke volume consumed by young smokers in the United States."
"Traditionally shisha tobacco contains cigarette tobacco, so like cigarettes it contains nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide and heavy metals, such as arsenic and lead," the British Heart Foundation says.
In 2016, an analysis led by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine revealed that one shisha session delivers approximately 125 times the smoke, 25 times the tar, 2.5 times the nicotine, and 10 times the carbon monoxide when compared to a single cigarette.