UAE doctors warn against sharing Shisha pipes over respiratory risks

Omar Abbas - | Mix

Healthcare experts in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are warning citizens about the serious threats to their respiratory health posed by the growing incidence of shisha smoking among them.

According to a poll by AIR Global's most recent research, there has been a noticeable drop in cigarette consumption over the past year, in contrast to a significant increase in shisha usage, both in the UAE and abroad.

The Sociable Appeal and Health Risks

Ronan Barry, the chief legal and corporate affairs officer at AIR Global, attributes this surge in shisha usage to individuals seeking "sociable experiences." However, this trend is accompanied by health risks, as cautioned by Dr. Mais M. Mauwfak, a specialist in internal medicine at Thumbay University Hospital in Ajman. Dr. Mauwfak highlights the prevalence of acute eosinophilic pneumonia among shisha smokers, emphasizing that shisha exposes users to various respiratory diseases. Factors contributing to this risk include the communal nature of shisha smoking, where individuals share tubes, and the potential ingestion and inhalation of contaminants from unclean mouthpieces.

In his clinical practice, Dr. Mauwfak notes that compared to cigarette smokers, shisha smokers have a higher prevalence of pneumonia. This worry is furthered by the statement made by Cleveland Clinic pulmonologist Dr. Humberto Choi, who claims that smoking, vaping, and shisha all carry intrinsic health risks. This confirms the myth that smoking shisha is less dangerous than smoking regular cigarettes. The AIR Global-commissioned poll provides insight into the evolving preferences in tobacco use behaviors. Interestingly, there has been a noticeable 21% decline in cigarette smoking, indicating a shift in consumer behavior toward non-traditional options. This pattern is seen not only in the United Arab Emirates but also in the United States, Germany, Spain, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.

Healthcare experts stress the significance of educating people about the health dangers linked with shisha use as its popularity rises. Campaigns for education that are aimed at adults and children alike are crucial in clearing up myths and promoting reasoned choices when it comes to tobacco use. Strict laws and enforcement tactics are also required to regulate the promotion and availability of shisha products, especially in places that young adults and tourists frequently visit.

Collaborative Efforts for Prevention and Intervention

Collaboration across a range of stakeholders, including governmental organizations, healthcare providers, community organizations, and educational institutions, is necessary for effective public health initiatives. Together, these organizations may put into action all-inclusive tobacco control initiatives that include policy lobbying, help for quitting, and prevention. In addition, further study is necessary to comprehend the long-term health consequences of smoking shisha and to guide evidence-based treatment plans.

The escalating prevalence of shisha smoking warrants concerted efforts from healthcare authorities, policymakers, and the community to address this emerging public health challenge effectively. By acknowledging the risks associated with shisha usage, promoting tobacco cessation initiatives, and implementing robust regulatory measures, it is possible to mitigate the adverse health effects and protect the well-being of individuals across the UAE and beyond. Ultimately, prioritizing public health over social trends is imperative for building healthier communities and reducing the burden of preventable respiratory diseases associated with shisha consumption.

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Omar Abbas
Omar Abbas
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