#StopNow – Hookah No Better Than Cigarettes

Lung Disorders
Image used for representation only

Just when you thought that the flavoured, smoking cousin of the deadly cigarettes is not as harmful, experts from the city opine that they have the same properties that are responsible for causing lung or oral cancer, heart ailments and other diseases in the human body.

This socially acceptable alternative to smoking is much popular among the younger crowd who shift to other attractive options than lighting a cigarette.

In the aftermath of the fire that broke out at Mumbai’s Kamal Mills on account of food joints serving hookah, the state government had then introduced an amendment to ban shisha in the state, but the city still has places that serve them.

City-based Pulmonologist Dr. Vaibhav Pandharkar, MBBS, DTCD, DNB (Respiratory Medicine), Consultant – Respiratory Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital, says that consumption of hookah is as harmful as consuming cigarettes.

“Hookah consumption affects each and every organ of the body and cancer is the most common repercussion. The majority of the younger crowds today opt for hookah and can see its repercussions in the later stages of life.

“When anyone smokes tobacco, carbon particles, tar, nicotine and other harmful metals and chemicals directly affect the body. Nicotine causes addiction which further lets the tar from it deposit in the body affecting every part of it.

“It causes hyper acidity, emphysema (destruction of the lung tissues), chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, lower respiratory tract infection, coronary artery disease and cancer in any organ of the body,” he says.

“If the respiratory system of the body is affected, the person will have difficulty in breathing, excessive coughing, wheezing sound while breathing etc. If the person is developing cancer there will be blood in the sputum, loss of appetite, weight loss etc. Abdominal pain, blood while vomiting are symptoms of the abdominal system being infected.

“One should look for other symptoms like fatigue, pain in the legs etc. and get immediate medical attention by an expert medical practitioner. However, cancer does not have any specific indicative symptoms.

“A person with a prolonged history of smoking along with lifestyle ailments like obesity or coughing that isn’t being cured by multiple antibiotics etc should be monitored.”

Sharing his insights on how a person can quit smoking, he says, “There are multiple theories on how someone can get away with the addiction but people do not follow it religiously. Firstly, the patient himself should have the willingness to quit and then medicines and professionals come into the scene. If not, advising them to look into using devices like the PAX vaporizer may also be a positive step to take. As you have their best interests at heart, they may even appreciate your support. Seeing as the internet can play a large part in helping people quitting smoking (from advice from professionals, to online videos), it may also be worth recommending the patient to check out something similar to a e cigarette starter kit from Vaper Choice, as this might be a solution that could help them give up smoking once and for all.

“Counselling, questionnaires, psychological help, identifying the roadblocks that might hinder the quitting process etc. prove helpful. Only when the patient is mentally prepared, he is put on nicotine gums or patches or any other medicine depending on his requirement.

“But for better results, a person has to try quitting for at least six months to reverse the adverse effects.

“Be it an occasional smoker or a chain smoker, it will have the same affect but the symptoms might come much later, depending on the amount and the time span they have been smoking for.

Ideally, the adverse effects of continuous exposure to carbon, tar and other particles can be seen when the person reached the age of 40.

Then rejuvenation of the lung cells and recovery from the ailment takes more time and efforts,” he adds.

Baburao Bandiwadekar, a former chain smoker and now a counselor, says, “I see no difference between a hookah and a cigarette. The means of smoking is irrelevant, the fact that one is smoking is the main factor. Shisha is not a pastime, it is addictive. Once you go to a shisha joint, there is every chance you will go there again. It can be helpful to use some liquide cigarette electronique to help wean you off of these, but the issue still stands.

“Smoking in any form is difficult to give up. It starts with just the occasional drag and then that drag becomes a full cigarette and then many cigarettes. I started with just three and when I finished decades later it had gone to 40 a day.

“After giving up, I still cough like a madman. I feel some changes in my body every time. It was tough to give up but I think going cold turkey is the best way out. All those promises of cutting down slowly just doesn’t work. Your body becomes a slave to it. Let it bear the pangs and the pains but the gains in the end are worth it,” he adds.


#All views are those of the respondents and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them. Some names changed on request.

#Pune365 does not advocate the use of e-cigarettes, hookah or tobacco.

##Smoking Can Kill ! #StopNow !

Loveleen Kaur

Loveleen Kaur

She loves travelling, dogs, sarcasm, humour and anything that spells F O O D, in that order. A writer on a journey to make positive stories a morning ritual and give society what it needs the most - optimism !!

Reach her at loveleen@pune365.com or tweet @KaurKaur18
Loveleen Kaur