Do you Shisha? If you do…be careful! Emeka Nwolisa

Do you Shisha? If you do…be careful! Emeka Nwolisa

Shisha smoking has become the new rave around town. It is now the koko. It connotes affluence and often proves alluring for  millennials. Smoking cigarette is for the kpakos  and  deemed old fashioned …shisha is it for the ajebutters and the upwardly mobile. The belief is that smoking shisha is healthy and trendy. In the 15th century, Hakim Abu Faith, a physician believed that tobacco, when passed through cold water and a filter will make it safer. But then how true really is this?  If you know, you know.

The origins of Shisha smoking is disputed but India, Turkey and the Middle East come in as strong contenders. Shisha is a glass-bottomed water pipe in which fruit-flavoured tobacco is covered with foil and roasted with charcoal. The tobacco smoke passes through a water chamber and is inhaled deeply and slowly. The fruit-flavoured tobacco tastes smooth and smells sweet making it an enjoyable and pleasurable event. Popular flavorings include apple, plum, coconut, mango, mint and strawberry.

Forget the origin because like play like play the tradition has traveled around the world and has recently become quite popular in Nigeria. It’s common sight in high brow clubs and joints in elitist area of most cities. Giving the rather false belief that shisha smoking is less harmful than Cigarette smoking and the premium price paid for each session, it’s becoming the trend amongst youths. In Naija, anything expensive is great. For sure most youths see themselves as trend setters and only too naturally follow the shisha train.

Giving that tobacco is involved, shisha smoking  also exposes the user to nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide and heavy metals, such as arsenic and lead. Cigarette smoking does same. The average shisha-smoking session lasts an hour and research has shown that in this time the smoker can inhale the same amount of smoke equivalent to  about  100 – 200 cigarettes. Shisha smoking is also addictive because though nicotine is absorbed by the water used in the pipe , the smoker is still exposed to enough quantity of nicotine to cause addiction.

As you shisha bear in mind that you can pick up infections from the pipe if not well cleaned in between users. There is also increased risk of oral cancer,Lung cancer,Stomach cancer,Cancer of the esophagus, respiratory diseases and decreased fertility. Babies born to women who do shisha while pregnant are also at risk of low birth weight. Babies with low birth weight have increased risk of complications and death within the first one month of life. Secondhand smoke from Shisha can  also pose risk for nonsmokers who are close by just as occurs with cigarette smoking.

Recognising the attendant risk of shisha there is a Federal Government ban on Shisha smoking in public places. This pronouncement was made by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole in an event organised to mark the 2018 World No Tobacco Day celebration in  Abuja.

So feel cool if you must, feel trendy if eh dey hungry you but   before you shisha…..think am well-well . Be careful no be curse na advice oh.

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