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Waterpipe - more dangerous than you think!

Vattenpipa - farligare än man tror! - engelskaThe content concerns Jönköpings län

It's becoming increasingly common in Sweden, particularly among young people, to try smoking using a waterpipe. But what is it and how dangerous is it? This leaflet contains information on the latest findings.

Waterpipe – hardly a safe alternative

There is a powerful myth that smoking using a waterpipe is not dangerous. The fact that the smoke can taste of vanilla, fruit or caramel means that many are under the impression that it's completely safe. A lot of people are tempted to try it out because of the sweet smell and taste, even those who wouldn't try smoking cigarettes. But waterpipe smoking is hardly a safe alternative.

The tobacco that is smoked in a waterpipe contains nicotine. We don't know for sure how addictive waterpipe smoking can be. The water absorbs some of the nicotine. But this means that the smoker has to smoke more, and for longer, in order to satisfy his or her nicotine craving.

As dangerous as cigarettes

The smoke from a waterpipe contains a mixture of tobacco smoke and smoke from the charcoal that keeps the tobacco glowing. Analyses of the smoke reveal that it contains at least as much carbon monoxide, tar, heavy metals and carcinogenic substances as cigarette smoke.

A waterpipe session lasting one hour produces the equivalent of smoke from roughly 100 cigarettes. Passive waterpipe smoking is just as dangerous as it is with cigarette smoking. There is no evidence to suggest that any kind of accessory can make waterpipe smoking safer.

Origins in the Middle East and Asia

Waterpipe smoking is a tradition that originates from the Middle East and southern Asia. An estimated 100 million people around the world smoke using a waterpipe. Sitting and smoking together is regarded as a social activity; soothing, relaxing and cosy.

The waterpipe is also known as a nargile, argile, goza, hookah, hubbel-bubble and shisa. Nargile is Persian for coconut. The water jar used to be made from coconuts.

Can spread infections

Waterpipes can spread infections, for example herpes and tuberculosis, since the mouthpiece is often shared between several smokers during a session.

Help with giving up smoking

The County Council's stop-smoking counsellors are specially trained to help you give up smoking. 

Further information: your local medical centre, Stop-smoking helpline 020 840000, or the website www.slutarokalinjen.se

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