- People inhale more toxins when smoking shisha as they take larger puffs
- They inhale 100 times more smoke than regular tobacco cigarettes
- Many people do not realise e-cigarettes also damage the heart
- E-cigarettes, shisha, cigars, tobacco cigarettes and passive smoking should all be avoided, cardiologists warned
Shisha and e-cigarettes are bad for the heart, top cardiologists have warned. People tend to breathe in more toxins when smoking shisha, which is also known as hookah or waterpipe smoking. This is because they tend to smoke for longer, and take larger ‘puffs’, inhaling as much as 100 times more smoke as from a tobacco cigarette, doctors said.
They also warned that electronic cigarettes also damage the heart, a fact many may not realise. ‘Electronic cigarettes may be moderately effective in helping smokers quit but they need the same marketing restrictions as cigarettes to avoid uptake by young people and non-smokers,’ said Professor Perk.
Electronic cigarettes should be regulated as a tobacco and medical product in the European Commission’s Tobacco Products Directive, they said. Evidence shows that even cartridges labelled as containing ‘no nicotine’ may contain nicotine and other toxic substances and that flavours such as vanilla or chocolate attract children.
Tobacco smoking among young people is increasing across Europe, and in some countries, such as the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, tobacco use among adolescents is very similar to that among adults.
SMOKING NOT ONLY KILLS, IT PLUNGES CHILDREN INTO POVERTY AS PARENTS ‘PRIORITISE CIGARETTES OVER FOOD’
Smoking not only destroys health, but the habit plunges hundreds of thousands of children into poverty each year, experts today warned.
The addiction places a financial burden on low-income families, causing parents to choose between buying cigarettes and putting food on the table. Researchers fear parents are likely to forgo basic household and food necessities in order to fund their habit.
Their findings come from the first UK study to highlight the extent to which smoking exacerbates child poverty. Dr Tessa Langley, of the University of Nottingham, said: ‘Smoking reduces the income available for families to feed, clothe and otherwise care for their children living in low-income households.
‘This study demonstrates that if our Government, and our health services, prioritised treating smoking dependence, it could have a major effect on child poverty as well as health.’
Professor Perk highlighted the importance of stopping teenagers from beginning to smoke. He said: ‘I would compare it with a fire in a hay barn. In the beginning it smokes a little but in the end the whole thing goes up in flames.
‘If you start smoking in your teens you won’t suffer immediately but you start a process of vascular damage that you will have to pay for later in life. It’s the worst thing you can do to your health.’
He added: ‘The job of parents as role models and educators has not been underlined strongly enough. Parents are responsible for their kids and can’t give up on them when they become teenagers.’ A 12-year-old who starts smoking begins the process of arthlesclerosis, where arteries become clogged up by fatty substances, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
‘Parents need to be very strict and not allow smoking because we know it is so damaging to health,’ Professor Perk said. He continued: ‘The tobacco industry knows how to infiltrate youth activities by promoting cigarettes during rave parties and discos.
‘This is unacceptable and we need stricter controls. Legislative measures on packaging, no sale of tobacco products to under-18s and forbidding smoking in public places including school yards is essential.’
The European Society of Cardiology is also calling for flavoured tobacco to be banned, as well as trademarks or promotion. Instead, it advocates the introduction of plain packaging, and health warnings on 75 per cent of the back and front surfaces of packages.
Retailers should have age verification systems with large economic penalties for selling cigarettes to under-age users. All-non tobacco products containing nicotine, like patches and e-cigarettes, should be prescribed as medicines, they added.
They also reiterated a warning about passive smoking, calling it ‘deadly’. A non-smoker living with a smoking spouse has an estimated 30 per cent higher risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke, and exposure in the work place poses similar risks.
Professor Perk said: ‘There are so many studies now confirming that passive smoking carries a significant risk for cardiovascular disease. This includes secondary smoke from all sources including the waterpipe.’
He concluded: ‘Smoking of all types is the number one villain in the battlefield of cardiovascular disease prevention. ‘Smoking is two times more significant for heart attacks on a population level than nutritional habits, physical activity and other risk factors.
‘Countries that want to get rid of heart attacks should get rid of smoking before even thinking about anything else.’
Published: 29 May 2015. By MADLEN DAVIES
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