Smoking shisha; is the WHO right?

I have decided to write an article because I had once been asked to smoke shisha, being insisted that there were no health implications involved and shisha was essentially the perks of smoking without the drawbacks, such as the continuity of use being able to possibly cause lung cancer! My decision to write this article was also perhaps encouraged by the growing market of shisha, which to has seen roughly a 210% rise in the number of cafes offering in since the smoking ban was implemented in 1 July 2007, as reported by the Independent. Moreover, there were 179 shisha bars in 2007 but there were 556 in 2012. So I now will begin writing a little bit of what I know to do with this subject.

“An oriental tobacco pipe with a long, flexible tube that draws the smoke through water contained in a bowl” describes ‘hubble-bubble’, ‘hookah’, ‘waterpipe smoking’ and any other alias the infamous shisha tends to spread under. First discovered by Abul-Fath Gilani according to popular belief, the upcoming craze originated from the humble, and likewise, booming country that used to be Persia; India – though this is said to be a disputed merit.

Shisha, often written under as a safer alternative to cigarettes, is a ‘glass-bottomed waterpipe’ which emits radiant fruity smells of your desires. But, surprisingly, for such a simple task of smoking, shisha requires a rather sophisticated device, inclusive of many components from grommets to diffusers. Thus, there is already a physical distinction from its cigarette counterpart. However, it is from the water jar where, unsurprisingly, most of the common misconceptions about shisha arise.

So the misconceptions, which are often seen as a major contributor to why shisha has become increasingly popular since the noughties, become intriguing as a blur between fact and fiction becomes visible. The first main myth to this tobacco craze would be the bubbling water creates the illusion of the smoke being cleansed and purified thus apparently being made healthy. Although, in reality the water, bubbling it may be, does not filter out all the toxins and the fruity smell is only the guise for the smoke which contains the otherwise cancer causing chemicals. Dr Sellehudin Abu Bakr even goes as far as to call the water ‘filter’ a ‘gimmick’. Additionally, passive smoking can be dangerous as it can be the smoke and its composition which causes harm. In the smokes composition exist an addictive substance: nicotine, which can cause a dependence upon this social commodity which increasingly seems harmful. Unfortunately, this is not where the problems end, as sharing a mouthpiece increases the risk of infection with TB or hepatitis, both of which come with disastrous implications.

As a result of public unawareness, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had, from their research published as ‘Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking’ in 2005, which found that, contrary to ancient lore and popular belief, the smoke of shisha contained many toxicants which can cause lung cancer, heart disease and can have other detrimental effects to your body. The WHO also came to the conclusion that 1 hour of smoking shisha is equivalent to up to 200 cigarettes worth of smoke, and this isn’t particularly ‘good’ smoke as the heat sources for shisha are often cinders or charcoals. These are dangerous as they release carbon monoxide.

Additonally, shisha delivers nicotine which as many of you may know, is an addictive substance. Despite the water absorbing some of it, it still enters your body in substantial amounts, so much so, that it can cause addiction, like other tobacco products. The study also highlighted the dangers of second-hand shisha smoking. So by even entering a shisha bar where others are smoking, even by not smoking yourself, you can still be endangered. Also, another important note to focus on is that in this research, they had showed shisha, like cigarettes to contain the capacity to have an adverse effect on the unborn baby during pregnancy. So by smoking shisha, one can potentially harm their baby.

Therefore, one must ask the question on whether smoking shisha is really as harmless as others advocate. In light of the WHO research, it becomes increasingly clear that there are dangerous aspects to this craze, but the research isn’t conclusive enough, many seem to argue. Thus, in order to really clear the misconceptions surrounding shisha, more research needs to be carried out.

Hi everyone !

As a prospective medical student looking at 2014 entry, I recently decided to write for the Valuemed blog to widen my medical knowledge (to help me earn a place at medical school) and this will be my first ever post!

I’m currently studying for my AS levels (Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Maths and Geography) at sixth form and have wanted to study medicine for as long as I can remember – I’m often asked why I want to, and the truth is that there is no easy answer… Of course, the structure of the medical course includes a lot of science (which I enjoy) and you will probably spend the rest of your working life learning about new treatments and technologies – I love the idea of having so much variety in a job! It’s a challenging career and I have never been one to turn away from a difficult or stressful situation. I like meeting new people and last but not least, being able to make an active difference in someone’s life appeals to me. Chances are that I won’t discover a new miracle drug or create a life saving vaccination for HIV, but being able to make a positive difference in someone’s life on a daily basis is really what draws me to the career. People often ask me if I want to go into medicine for the money, and honestly, no – I don’t. Without a doubt, it’s a difficult career option – it’s a competitve degree to get into, I’ll be in full-time education for at least 5 years after school – not to mention having debt up to my eyeballs!, the stress, the emotional strain and the frustration when you are unable to help someone… And so, to cut a long story short, if I were in it for the money, I would find something else. But for me, the pros of studying medicine cannot be compared to anything else!

I’ve been involved with St John Ambulance for over 5 years now, and am currently a volunteer at a hospital. Following some work experience, I’ve become quite interested in radiology and ophthalmology as well as surgery (although I have no experience of this yet…). Over the next two years (which will probably fly by!), I hope to expand my knowledge as well as hopefully blog about what I do know.

Goodbye for now,

doc2014

idoctor says hello!

Well where do I begin…. this is my first post on the blog so I just want to say a little hello an introduce myself to those who read this blog and other writers. A lot like many of you I am an aspiring medic. I applied last year with one interview which was unsuccessful so without a doubt will be trying again for 2013. Received my a level grades 2 weeks ago, big smilees 🙂 🙂 🙂 which also showed me how much I want to study medicine. Being quite an academic person I have always been told that I can do whatever i want and that ‘the world is my oyster’. easier said than done 😉 well ill keep it short and simple… hoping to try new things during my gap year, and blogging being one of them, i thought this would be a great way to write about things that interest me whilst trying something new. I’ll try to post every week and talk about different topics in the medicine world that I find most interesting and most important and i’ll also keep you upto date on my application to medicine ..take two 😉

Hello Everyone

My name is Rabia and this is my first post. I hope to build a relationship with all of you so here’s some information about me. I am 18 years old and have just left school after completing my A-Levels and attaining A*A*A (Biology, Chemistry and Geography.) Like many others on here, I too am a prospective Medical student. After failing to gain a place in the 2012 cycle I am about to embark on a gap year and then re-apply. Why do I want to study Medicine? Is the trickiest question for me. It’s something I can’t put into words. Maybe its the rush and excitement I’ll get every single working day. Or maybe the fact that I am genuinely helping and saving people. Or maybe its the fact that I’ll be applying my favourite subject, Biology, every day.

Joining this blog is my way not only to share what I feel but to indulge in research, in the latest medical topics or areas of interest to me to hopefully put across my excitement and enthusiasm to the readers. What better way to learn than to teach others?

I have followed Doctors in a Hospital where I observed the workings of a ward round, basic examinations conducted and of course key skills and qualities such as teamwork with other doctors and nurses, politeness towards patients and the ability to always have a smile on your face. I was lucky enough to be involved in a private consultation informing a family member of a patients severely deteriorating health and almost confirmed death, which I will always remember. Similarly I have had experience in clinics, pharmacies and a dental practice. (The dental placement however, I can say was my least favourite…)

So what about my gap year? I’m going to continue with my voluntary work which I’ve been doing for 2 years now at a local Hospital which goes to patients in wards to sell newspapers and items. I’m also beginning another volunteering opportunity with disabled people. More work experience is to come but first and foremost I need to re-take the dreaded UKCAT and find a job!

– Rabia

A new guest blogger saying hello

Hey there! 🙂

I am a 17 year-old A-Level student, currently studying biology, chemistry, mathematics and religious studies. My A-Level choices strongly reflect my desire to study medicine at university, as I have always had a curiosity about what makes the human body work in the way which it does.

I have opted to write for this blog so that I am able to talk about such things which attract and excite me in the medical world and to also use as an aid for me to further understand what I learn within my A-Level studies.

In medicine, the field which interests me the most is cardiology; the study of the disorders and abnormalities of the heart, as well as cardiac surgery. The overall physiology of the heart is very interesting and I crave to learn much more about it! The heart is essentially what keeps the human body alive, beating at approximately 100, 000 times in a day. Despite the strenuous effort it is put under, this impeccable organ being approximately the size of a human fist, it does not tire and continues to pump hundreds of gallons of blood throughout the body per day.

Rather than adult cardiology, I am more appealed by paediatric cardiology. Most children who suffer from cardiac problems, are usually treated incredibly well by paediatricians and nurses and go onto lead perfectly normal lives. However, those who are too ill and too weak to battle on their own, it is their bravery and courage that I admire. When I did my work experience placement at the local hospital in the paediatrics department, there were a handful of patients suffering from both minor and major cardiac problems. Despite the challenges faced by both the staff and the patients, neither of them gave up. I witnessed the physical and psychological stresses faced by the doctors and children on a daily basis, and also the reward and satisfaction felt by both parties when the result was a success. During my time at the hospital, I learned the importance of a caring bedside manner, the ability to console the weak with kindness whilst remaining professional at all times, as well as the crucial role of empathy.

I have also done some other work experience in various care settings and hope to embark upon many more!

Medical Interests

Hi guys, Akshay here. I have not posted in a while as I was caught up with my university admissions paperwork but am more free nowadays and hope to actively contribute to this blog. Personally, I have developed a keen interest in Cancer and endocrinology and my posts would predominantly be focused on the issues surrounding these branches of medicine. My interest stems from my A-level Biology days when I found the topics of cancer and specifically the pancreas particularly interesting. I expanded on my interest by reading books such as ‘The Emperor of All Maladies’ which I found to be intellectually stimulating. I would be posting articles on the scientific basis of cancer and endocrinology as I really like the pathology and biochemistry behind these. However, I do acknowledge that I may not be aware of all the scientific minutiae involved and your comments will be greatly appreciated in refining my knowledge.

Introduction

Hi guys, my name is Akshay, I’m from Singapore and I’m a new guest blogger. I have completed my A levels and am planning to apply to UK for medicine during my gap year. I first came to know about this provision of writing for Valuemed from a medical student who previously wrote for Valuemed. I was immediately keen on writing as a guest blogger not only for the purpose of gaining a deeper insight into medicine but also to keep up to date with the latest news in the medical world. I would like to thank Kate for giving me this opportunity and will write more on medical news in the near future. Cheers

An Introduction

Hi everyone it’s Futuremedic1 here!

I am a new guest blogger on this site and I thought I’d tell you all a little about myself. I’m a prospective medical student who is hoping to go to medical school next year (2013). My current interests in medicine lie in the fields of oncology and cardiology, although of course that is liable to change as I explore other branches of medicine. As for work experience, I have undertaken a couple of weeks in my local hospital and have also spent time at a scientific research lab. I hope that you will read and enjoy my posts, and please feel free to ask me any questions.

Guestblogging on medical blog

We are currently looking for guest bloggers on our medical blog.

Are you a doctor, medical student, prospective medical student, nurse, healthcare worker or an expert in a particular medical or health field or do you have personal experience of a medical condition. Are you applying for university in 2013 to study medicine or a medical related subject ?

If so please do get in touch-we would love to hear from you. You can write about anything health & medicine related that you think our readers may be interested in & post links to other relevant medical or health websites if you wish. You can even write about the ups and downs of applying for medicine & share your experiences. You can do this anonymously if you prefer.

If you would like to be a guest medical blogger please do get in touch by e-mail to kate@valuemed.co.uk or by posting in comments and we will contact you. Any e-mail address that you post in comments is kept private and will not appear on the blog.

Guest Blog Spot

Would you like to blog as a guest on our medical blog ?

Are you working in a field of medicine or in complementary medicine, and would like to share your knowledge and wisdom with our readers ? Would you like to blog as a guest on our medical blog ?

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If the answer is yes please e-mail us or post in comments and we will e-mail you.

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