Smoking a shisha pipe is as bad for people as smoking tobacco, the Department of Health and the Centre for Tobacco Control Research has found.When I was wandering through Regents Park today I saw a woman parked up with a pram and a shisha pipe thing having a sook, and I wondered how come there's no great clampdown on such things as there is for smoking.
People who smoke shisha, or herbal tobacco, can suffer from high carbon monoxide levels, its research revealed.
It found one session of smoking shisha resulted in carbon monoxide levels at least four to five times higher than the amount produced by a cigarette.
High levels of carbon monoxide can lead to brain damage and unconsciousness.
So, here scientists have shown that you get high carbon monoxide levels, but thats not quite the same as cigarettes. Cigarettes give some people lung cancer and some people die of it. A greater proportion of people who smoke cigarettes die of lung cancer than people who don't smoke cigarettes, so great a proportion that cigarette smoking gets banned, pubs close, society collapses.
But that's very different to this shisha thing, no one's saying that smoking shisha causes a death. That's not what the news story says. The news story says quite specifically that shisha just increases carbon monoxide levels.
"If my mum sees me smoking shisha, she isn't going to take it as seriously as if I was smoking cigarettes," said a British Pakistani man.
It was this misconception - and finding dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in a pregnant woman who had stopped smoking tobacco, but continued to smoke shisha - which prompted the research.
"We found one session of smoking shisha - that's 10 milligrams for 30 minutes - gave carbon monoxide levels that were at the lowest four and five times as high as having a cigarette," said Dr Wareing.
Has anyone ever died from shisha smoking? Has it ever been found to be the cause of death?
I doubt it.