Water pipes have been quite common in countries like the Middle East, Asia and Africa for many years. However, nowadays they are often seen in North America as well.
The top portion of a water pipe contains a small bowl which holds a mixture of tobacco fragments and sweetener.
The tobacco mixture is sold in a few flavors such as apple, mint and cappuccino. They are used in social settings in which many people share the same mouth piece. This can lead to the spread of germs, colds etc. It is thought that water pipes are safe to use as the water filters the tobacco smoke, however, this is not quite so…please read on.
The ‘smoke’ in the water pipe contains higher amounts of the same toxic compounds found in cigarettes…I.e., carbon monoxide, heavy metals and chemicals linked to cancer.
Effects of these chemicals:
1) Cause cancer of the voice box (oral cancer), lung, bladder, stomach and esophagus.
2) Clog arteries and cause heart and respiratory diseases I.e., lung disease (emphysema) – difficulty breathing.
3) A usual water pipe session can last up to one hour. This exposes the smoker to a greater amount of toxins than do cigarettes – an individual may inhale 100-200 % more smoke during a water pipe session than a single cigarette.
4) As mentioned previously, this is a social activity where people share the same mouth piece. This may increase the risk of contracting or transmitting diseases such as herpes and hepatitis, especially if the mouth pieces are not cleaned properly.
5) The tobacco used in water pipes contains the same amount of nicotine as cigarettes do hence, the potential for addiction.
Hopefully, this blog will encourage you to refrain if you are ever in a social setting where people are using a water pipe and you feel any peer pressure to partake.
Yours in good oral health,
Dr. Robert Axelrad, Brampton Dentist