One of the UAE’s leading heart doctors has urged people to think twice about smoking shisha during Ramadan – in spite of the habit’s sociable reputation.

Dr Wael Abdulrahman Almah­meed, chief of cardiology at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi, said shisha is a popular habit at holy month gatherings, but is just as addictive and harmful as cigarettes.

Almahmeed, who is a past president of the Emirates Cardiac Society, said: “Although there is the misconception that shisha is not as harmful as a cigarette it can be just as damaging, if not more.”

He added: “Some recent data shows that techniques designed to stop people smoking cigarettes don’t work for shisha smokers. One of the reasons is that shisha smoking is more of a pastime and more of a tradition than having a cigarette.

“Shisha is addictive. Some people think it is not. Some people smoke it once a month, some people start and get addicted. Addicted people even go out of their work to quickly inhale it during the day.” A recent study – pulled together from dozens of localised surveys across the Middle East and in some western countries on shisha smoking – shows that most people believe it is less harmful and less addictive than cigarette smoking.

The main motives for smoking shisha across the world were socialising, relaxation, pleasure and entertainment. Younger people also said it is “fashionable”.

Expression of cultural identity was a specific motive for people in the Middle East to smoke it. The study, put together by several universities across the world and published in the Harm Reduction Journal, showed that in Middle Eastern society it was more acceptable for women to smoke waterpipes than cigarettes. There have been various claims that one shisha smoking session is equal to smoking between 60 and 100 cigarettes.

source:  yahoo news