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Description of the Local Problem

Hookahs also known as Shisha, hubble-bubble or goza among other names refer to water pipes that are commonly smoked for pleasure. They are made up of tobacco that is flavored maybe to give hookah a different taste from that of cigarette. The smoking is typically done in groups using the same mouth piece that are passed over from one person to another. It varies in shape, size and style.  Over the last couple of decades, consumption of hookah has drastically escalated most notably among the youths especially those in colleges and universities.  According to a research done by Centers for Disease Control and prevention(CDC) that was published in the year 2012 in their column; Preventing Chronic Disease, many of hookah smokers believe that it contains less risk of diseases related to tobacco than there are in smoking cigarettes (Ahmed, 2011). This essay is a proposal of research and will look into the risks associated to smoking of hookah and will consider a population in Saudi Arabia who indulge in hookah.

Rationale of the Local Problem and the Purpose of Study

Rationale of the Local Problem

The rationale used in picking this local problem is the consideration that Saudi Arabia has been highly hit by abuse of shisha and the health risks of its taking have been felt. According to a report released by the Government of Saudi Arabia that appeared on 14th November, 2013 on Asharq Al-Awsat website and written by Eman Al-Khattaff.  Smoking shisha in the country was becoming highly prohibited. That was especially in near residential areas such as Mosques and school. The ban found its way after a comprehensive research by the government’s medical practitioners that revealed some of the deadly health risks associated with inhaling the smoke coming from shisha (Chaouachi & Sajid, 2010). It was concluded that; while cigarettes posed a significant health risk to the smoker and non-smokers inhaling the same, it was more perilous with shisha. In fact, medical experts found that, a single shisha session was the same as smoking 200 cigarettes altogether at the same time (Ahmed, 2011).

Tobacco smoke coming from shisha damages one heart and the circulation of blood throughout the body. That in turn increases the risk of developing condition such as stroke, heart attack, coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease that damages the arteries supplying blood to the brains (Mirjana, Steven & Zang 2010).  The smoke has also been known to cause or rather to worsen the symptoms of respiratory conditions such as common cold and asthma. Men who are regular shisha smokers are at a great risk of being impotent. That is simply because too much of smoking limits the flow of blood to the penis.  Fertility of both men and women are lowered making it difficult for them to bear children (Cobb, 2010). Therefore, the problem should be addressed.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to understand the effects of smoking hookah and the ways of preventing the same on the way in Saudi Arabia. Health problems that are as a result of smoking hookah are innumerable.  The substance in form of charcoal that is used to burn tobacco in shisha has been known to greatly increase human health risks due to the smoke emanating from the burning (Chaouachi & Sajid, 2010). That smoke has been proved to incorporate high levels of metals, toxic gases such as carbon monoxide and cancer-causing elements.  The smoke does not only expose the smoker to high chances of contracting the deadly disease but also others who are at a close proximity inhaling the same smoke coming from the shisha (Kamal & Mohammad, 2010).

Medical practitioners have come out to demonstrate that there is a very clear link between hookah smoking and lung cancer (Ben, 2009). The issue is compounded by the fact that, there are too many flavors in hookah that mislead smokers towards thinking they are smoking herbs that does not contain tobacco. That has made it very easy for quite a significant amount of nicotine to get into the users lung without him or her realizing the amount of tobacco he or she is pumping into his or her body. With time, the user becomes more and more susceptible to cancerous effects on his or her health. Other form of cancers that may be triggered by smoking shisha includes that of; mouth, lips, throat, voice box (larynx), esophagus, bladder, kidney, liver, stomach and pancreas (Cobb, 2010).

Research Question

What are the health effects or health risks of smoking hookah across Saudi Arabia and how can they be prevented?


  1. Ahmed, B., Jacob III, P., Allen, F., & Benowitz, N. (2011). Attitudes and practices of hookah smokers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 43(2), 146-152.
  2. Ben, S., H. (2009). "The narghile and its effects on health. Part I: the narghile, general description and properties". Rev Pneumol Clin 65 (6): 369–75.
  3. Chaouachi, K., & Sajid, K. M. (2010). Cancer risks of hookah (shisha, narghile) tobacco use require further independent sound studies. International Journal of Cancer, 127(7), 1737-1739.
  4. Cobb, C., Ward, K. D., Maziak, W., Shihadeh, A. L., & Eissenberg, T. (2010). Waterpipe tobacco smoking: an emerging health crisis in the United States. American journal of health behavior, 34(3), 275.
  5. Kamal, C. & Mohammad S., K. (2010). “A critique of recent hypotheses on oral (and lung) cancer induced by water pipe (hookah, shisha, narghile) tobacco smoking”. Medical Hypotheses 74 (5): 843–846.
  6. Mirjana, V. Steven D., & Zang E. (2010). "Doses of Nicotine and Lung Carcinogens Delivered to Cigarette Smokers". Journal of the National Cancer Institute (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 92: 106–11. 

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