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Alert: Smoking Hookah (Shisha) For An Hour Might Equal Smoking 100 Cigarettes

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Alert: Smoking Hookah (Shisha) For An Hour Might Equal Smoking 100 Cigarettes

Hookah lovers are known for spending hours on end puffing away on their beloved water pipes. But would these enthusiasts spend an hour smoking if they knew it was actually very dangerous?

A new study suggests that young people believe that smoking hookah is safer than smoking cigarettes. Because of this, hookah smokers will smoke their pipes for longer. The gentle flavors encourage them to inhale more smoke than a cigarette smoker would.

But a one hour water pipe session could set a smoker back the equivalent of 100 cigarettes.

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Few people would claim to enjoy smoking 100 cigarettes, or five packs, in only one hour. Even fewer would claim that they do this regularly with a group of friends. The cost in terms of health alone is too heavy a burden for the average person and could result in a call from funeral director.

Most people understand that smoking cigarettes will increase their risk for plenty of long term and deadly diseases like heart disease, stroke and cancer. But few realize that hookah has these exact same long term side effects.

How could an hour of relaxed hookah smoking become the equivalent to five packs a day?

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The World Health Organization released a report that found that those who indulge in hookah will take between 50 and 200 puffs during each hour of smoking.

This is compared to a mere eight to 12 average puffs that a cigarette smoker will have smoking one cigarette.

Another dangerous fact that few enthusiasts know about hookah is that small water pipes produce higher levels of carbon monoxide than cigarettes. So a person who is smoking hookah from a small, personal water pipe is inhaling more dangerous fumes than someone smoking a regular cigarette.

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People are aware of the dangers of cigarettes. This awareness combined with a fuller realization of how cigarettes affect smokers and the people they love has resulted in Americans smoking fewer standard cigarettes than ever before.

The dangers of cigarettes are well noted and continually advertised by health services and governments. In Toronto they are considering banning shisha and hookah smoking in public, and that follows the province of Alberta’s decsion to also ban the practice.This is because policy makers in Canada feared that young people in their 20’s were turning to hookah smoking as a social activity without understanding the dangers behind cigarette alternatives like hookah and e-cigarettes.

Additionally, shisha tobacco has more appeal to young as it comes in a variety of flavors, such as apple and strawberry. For people from the Middle East, it is part of their culture, and for many, shisha bars represent another outlet for a cultural experience in the city, just like going to the theater a Chinese restaurant.

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Indeed, even though tobacco came from the Americas, the practice of smoking hookah goes back hundreds of years. The pipe and the water pipe are old traditions stemming from the pan-Asian continent before making its way to North America in the mid-20th century.

While the use of water pipes continues to decline in the area of its origin, new hookah businesses in the United States have targeted young adults and college students. These students have shown a demonstrable decrease in the number of cigarettes they consume. But more than 40%% of students in a recent survey said that they had smoked tobacco from a water pipe.

Between the pleasant aroma, the varied flavors and the chic cafes marketed directly at young people, young people remain uninformed about the dangers of hookah.

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Armed with more research, administrators and law makers could help inform young people of the risks of smoking hookah and help prevent the dangerous diseases that are often attributed only to cigarettes.

Featured photo credit: Shisha Times via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 27, 2022

5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

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5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

Food plays an integral role in our lives and rightfully so: the food we eat is intricately intertwined with our culture. You can learn a lot about a particular culture by exploring their food. In fact, it may be difficult to fully define a culture without a nod to their cuisine.

“Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1825).

Don’t believe me? Here’s why food is the best way to understand a culture:

Food is a universal necessity.

It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re from – you have to eat. And your societal culture most likely evolved from that very need, the need to eat. Once they ventured beyond hunting and gathering, many early civilizations organized themselves in ways that facilitated food distribution and production. That also meant that the animals, land and resources you were near dictated not only what you’d consume, but how you’d prepare and cook it. The establishment of the spice trade and the merchant silk road are two example of the great lengths many took to obtain desirable ingredients.

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Food preservation techniques are unique to climates and lifestyle.

Ever wonder why the process to preserve meat is so different around the world? It has to do with local resources, needs, and climates. In Morocco, Khlea is a dish composed of dried beef preserved in spices and then packed in animal fat. When preserved correctly, it’s still good for two years when stored at room temperature. That makes a lot of sense in Morocco, where the country historically has had a strong nomadic population, desert landscape, and extremely warm, dry temperatures.

Staples of a local cuisines illustrate historical eating patterns.

Some societies have cuisines that are entirely based on meat, and others are almost entirely plant-based. Some have seasonal variety and their cuisines change accordingly during different parts of the year. India’s cuisine is extremely varied from region to region, with meat and wheat heavy dishes in the far north, to spectacular fish delicacies in the east, to rice-based vegetarian diets in the south, and many more variations in between.

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The western part of India is home to a group of strict vegetarians: they not only avoid flesh and eggs, but even certain strong aromatics like garlic, or root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. Dishes like Papri Chat, featuring vegetable based chutneys mixed with yoghurt, herbs and spices are popular.

Components of popular dishes can reveal cultural secrets.

This is probably the most intriguing part of studying a specific cuisine. Certain regions of the world have certain ingredients easily available to them. Most people know that common foods such as corn, tomatoes, chili peppers, and chocolate are native to the Americas, or “New World”. Many of today’s chefs consider themselves to be extremely modern when fusing cuisines, but cultural lines blended long ago when it comes to purity of ingredients.

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Black pepper originated in Asia but became, and still remains, a critical part of European cuisine. The Belgians are some of the finest chocolatiers, despite it not being native to the old world. And perhaps one of the most interesting result from the blending of two cuisines is Chicken Tikka Masala; it resembles an Indian Mughali dish, but was actually invented by the British!

Food tourism – it’s a whole new way to travel.

Some people have taken the intergation of food and culture to a new level. No trip they take is complete with out a well-researched meal plan, that dictates not only the time of year for their visit, but also how they will experience a new culture.

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So, a food tourist won’t just focus on having a pint at Oktoberfest, but will be interested in learning the German beer making process, and possibly how they can make their own fresh brew. Food tourists visit many of the popular mainstays for traditional tourism, like New York City, San Francisco, London, or Paris, but many locations that they frequent, such as Armenia or Laos, may be off the beaten path for most travelers. And since their interest in food is more than meal deep, they have the chance to learn local preparation techniques that can shed insight into a whole other aspect of a particular region’s culture.

Featured photo credit: Young Shih via unsplash.com

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