There are many other types of tobacco around as well as cigarettes which are all just as harmful to your health.
Things such as Shisha, oral tobacco and cannabis all contain tobacco and can become addictive. You can read more about these below.
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- Traditionally shisha tobacco contains cigarette tobacco, so like cigarettes it contains nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide and heavy metals, such as arsenic and lead. As a result, shisha smokers are at risk of the same kinds of diseases as cigarette smokers, such as heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease and problems during pregnancy
- Most shisha contains tobacco and is addictive
- For the user – one shisha session is the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes
- The water doesn’t clean or filter the smoke. It encourages the user to taker longer puffs and inhale more of the toxins and bad stuff
- Even herbal or tobacco-free shisha is harmful to health as it contains dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and other cancer-causing agents
- Sharing mouthpieces is risky as diseases can be passed from person-to-person, such as colds, flu and cold sores
- Cancer Research UK and The National Institute for Clinical Excellence state that Smokeless [aka oral] tobacco is not a safe substitute for smoking cigarettes.
- Oral Tobacco is associated with serious health problems such as mouth and oral cancer, serious tooth decay, heart attack and stroke, and problems in pregnancy.
- Oral tobacco contains 28 cancer-causing agents (carcinogens)
- Oral tobacco use during pregnancy increases the risks for preeclampsia (a condition that may include high blood pressure, fluid retention, and swelling), premature birth, and low birth weight
- Oral tobacco use by men causes reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm cells
What's in it?
- Most types of smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 different chemicals that can cause cancer.
- The worst of these are a group of chemicals called tobacco-specific nitrosamines, or TSNAs for short. People who use these brands can expose themselves to up to a thousand times more TSNAs than non-smokers.
- People who use oral tobacco absorb 3-4 times as much nicotine as smokers do. The nicotine is also absorbed more slowly and stays in the blood for a longer time.
What is Cannabis?
- Cannabis is made from a natural plant - the Cannabis plant
- The main active chemical in Cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol, THC for short.
- THC is what makes you feel chilled out, happy and relaxed when using Cannabis, but can also make you hallucinate so that you might see, hear or feel things differently to normal.
- Most people mix it with tobacco, roll it up into something known as a ‘spliff’ or a ‘joint’, and then smoke it
- Some people smoke it using a type of pipe called a bong
- Others drink or eat it mixed in cookies, cakes or even cups of tea. Taken this way, the effects of cannabis can be more difficult to predict or to control.
Risks when using Cannabis
- Cannabis can mess with your mind by causing hallucinations, paranoia, anxiety and regular use is associated with an increase in the risk of developing psychotic illnesses including schizophrenia.
- Cannabis can mess with your body by increasing heart rate and blood pressure, decrease a man's sperm count and suppress ovulation in women. When mixed with tobacco, as commonly done so, you also get the risks associated with smoking cigarettes such as cancer, lung disease and heart disease.
e-cigarettes and e-shisha
What are they?
They both consist of devices that vaporise a liquid containing a solvent, chemical flavourings and/or nicotine, which is then inhaled. This is all contained in either a disposable or re-usable ‘pen’ or ‘stick’ and is powered by a disposable or re-chargeable battery.
What are the risks?
- Many aspects of these products are currently unregulated and it is therefore uncertain that they are safe to use in the manner intended.
- Some e-cigarettes and e-shisha 'pens' or 'sticks' contain tobacco, which is a poison
- Many e-liquid refills contain potentially harmful doses of nicotine to adults and fatal doses to children if consumed. None have been found with child resistant packaging yet
e-cigarettes and e-shisha allow a vapour of solvent and chemicals to be inhaled directly into the lungs. This may be safe with products made by licensed manufacturers but if we are not aware of the origin of the product, then they may contain harmful chemicals.
- As they are electrical, there is also a risk of fire, electric shock, or damage to the devices they are connected to.