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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Shisha pollutes lungs, heart with 100 chemicals


Paleontologists and chest physicians whole-heartedly welcomed the Sindh Assembly resolution calling for a ban on the smoking of shisha at public places.
However, health experts were skeptical about the implementation of such a ban. Once a resolutions had been passed to ban on the sale of Ghutka, but the commodity remained widely available throughout the city.
Speaking to The News, Consultant Chest Physician at Agha Khan University Hospital (AKUH) Dr Javaid A. Khan echoed this view and although he welcomed the resolution, he said that it must implemented in order to be effective.
“The Sindh Assembly passed several resolutions banning the sale of Ghutka. But it is being openly sold and all over the province. Authorities must take effective measures to curb the menace of shisha. Merely passing a resolution is not enough,” he believed.
Dr Khan informed The News that shisha was an even more hazardous to human health than smoking cigarettes. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), consuming shisha for an hour is equal to smoking 100 cigarettes.
“Shisha contains flavored tobacco and is more damaging than cigarettes. Its smoke pollutes the body and lungs with over a 100 chemicals, including carbon monoxide, tar, arsenic, charcoal, nicotine and others that are carcinogenic (cancer-causing),” he maintained.
According to a survey, 70 percent of parents believe that shisha smoking is acceptable and does not pose a threat to their children’s health and that is a leisure activity, while just 15 percent find cigarette smoking acceptable.
Dr Khan said that almost 50 percent of varsity students were becoming addicts of shisha smoking and that the habit was becoming more popular with female students as well.
“Actually, shisha smokers believe that it causes no harm to their body, which is a complete misconception,” Dr Khan highlighted. To a query on flavored tobacco, he said that lungs do not contain receptors that can identify the different flavors of smoke.

“If people want to taste coffee, they should drink coffee. If you feel like having a certain fruit, have that instead of polluting your lungs with artificial flavored tobacco.”
The chest physician believed that apart from cancer, shisha is likely to cause asthma, COPD and other diseases linked to tobacco-smoking. He urged the government to pass the legislation and implement it in both letter and spirit.
Another Paleontologist and chest physician, Prof Dr Sohail Akhtar also welcomed the provincial assembly’s resolution and said that at last, the legislators realized the dangers associated with shisha smoking.
“It is unfortunate that hazardous things such as cigarettes, pan, Ghutka and now shisha are easily available to our children. Since shisha is not considered as hazard by many, makes it more lethal” Dr Akhtar maintained.
“Actually, this menace has just become popular and it takes time to cause serious health problems for smokers. If it continues to exist in our society, it would result in the untimely death of youngsters in the years to come” Dr Akhtar warned.
Prof Dr Sohail Akhtar believed that those people promoting shisha as a non-hazardous activity were telling a lie and playing with the lives of people, especially youngsters. He asked the government to immediately clamp down on its use in the province.


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