ALARM OVER DAN­GERS OF SHISHA AT HOME

Im­pact of passive smok­ing stud­ied

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - @7DAYSUAE news@7days.ae

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.

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