Danger for young people in the shisha bar, knowledge – environment, dw

More and more young people smoke shisha. You sit comfortably together and puff harmless water vapor. Or? Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that! Hookahs are even more dangerous than cigarettes, warns doctor Sven Dreyer.

Shishas look harmless. They look very pretty, people sit together in bars, share a hookah and blow sweet-smelling steam into the air. Shishas are becoming increasingly popular, especially among young people, and seem to be an alternative to cigarette smoking. According to a report by the health insurance company DAK everyone Second 10th graders in Germany smoked tobacco from a water pipe, about 15 percent of the 7,000 students surveyed puff regularly.

Shisha bars sprout like mushrooms everywhere and complete the picture of a safe leisure activity. But that’s a fallacy. "Shisha too smoke is at least as dangerous as cigarette smoking", warns Sven Dreyer, member of the North Rhine Medical Association and senior pressure chamber doctor at the University Hospital in Düsseldorf. Fewer and fewer adolescents use the glow stem. The drug and addiction report 2017 mentions a survey by the Federal Center for Health Education, according to which the smoking rate among young people aged 12 to 17 has dropped from 27.5 percent to 7.4 percent in 2016 since 2001. Instead, they resort to shisha – and that’s hardly any better.

The tobacco for shishas has a sweet, fruity flavor and particularly attracts young people to the pipes

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Shishas are like cigarettes, only worse

If the shishas are smoked with tobacco, they cause the same long-term damage as cigarettes. The hookahs also worsen lung function and increase the risk of cancer. "A hookah with tobacco has about ten to twenty times the amount of nicotine compared to a cigarette", says Dreyer. Anyone who uses a hookah every day could just as well smoke ten cigarettes. Instead of tobacco, you can also use so-called aroma stones that do not contain nicotine. Not much is known about the ingredients of these stones. With or without nicotine, Dreyer is particularly critical of hookahs for a completely different reason.

"There is also a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning with the shisha. In the mildest case, this leads to dizziness, nausea and vomiting and then turns into loss of consciousness and seizures", Dreyer explains. The odorless and colorless gas carbon monoxide is released when the coal burns on the hookah head. With every bubbling swipe through the shisha hose, it reaches the smoker’s lungs and quickly causes the carbon monoxide content in the blood to skyrocket to dangerous heights. The result is poisoning and loss of consciousness.

Therapy with pure oxygen

Patients whose trip to the shisha bar ends in this way end up with a pressure chamber doctor like Dreyer. This first determines the carbon monoxide content in the blood. "We are talking about carbon monoxide hemoglobin, i.e. the proportion of red blood pigment that is contaminated with carbon monoxide. For non-smokers this is around one percent. A heavy smoker creates about 10 percent." A hookah smoker often has values ​​of over 20 percent. "This is sure to poison you", says Dreyer. The patients have to breathe pure oxygen, in severe cases they are given this in a pressure chamber.


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Christina Cherry
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