ALARM OVER DANGERS OF SHISHA AT HOME
Impact of passive smoking studied
Smoking shisha exposes people around you to more risk than secondhand smoke from cigarettes, according to a new study.
A team from NYU Abu Dhabi Public Health Research Centre measured air pollution in 33 UAE homes – 11 where only shisha was smoked, 12 where only cigarettes were smoked and 10 where no smoking occurred.
All pollutants assessed in the study, including carbon monoxide (CO) and various airborne particulate matter, were higher in shisha-smoking homes. CO levels in rooms where shisha was smoked were found to be five times higher than in rooms where cigarettes were smoked. Too much carbon monoxide in the bloodstream can cause severe damage to vital organs.
Dr Scott Sherman, the centre’s principal investigator, said: “The study shows that the other rooms [where shisha wasn’t smoked] were not any safer. So, sending your chil- dren to play in the other room while you smoke is not a safe alternative.”
Previous research has shown that shisha is harmful to smokers but NYU Abu Dhabi said this is the first study to examine hazardous levels of home air pollution caused by shisha.
The team said shisha is harmful because the tobacco used in it is flavoured, and the flavours contain multiple chemicals not found in cigarettes.
Lead researcher Dr Michael Weitzman, professor of paediatrics and environmental medicine at the NYU School of Medicine, hopes the research will influence policy makers to push for better control and awareness about the dangers of smoking shisha and indoor smoking in general.