Innovative Safe Practices You Should Know About When Using Shisha
Coconut-Derived Charcoal May Be A Safer Option: Here’s Why
In contrast to cigarettes, shisha is not burned, but it is heated at low temperatures using charcoal. The temperature is dependent upon the charcoal type and the setup of the shisha head i.e., the quantity of charcoal and position relative to the shisha.
Charcoal is an odorless, tasteless, fine black powder or black porous solid consisting of carbon, and any remaining ash, manufactured by charring wood (or other organic materials) at high temperatures in the absence of oxygen to remove water and other volatile constituents.
Good charcoal is mostly pure carbon and when ignited, releases heat along with carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and water. However, other harmful chemicals may be released depending on the starting material, production process, and the inclusion of any additives e.g., fillers, ignition agents (coal dust, benzene), colorants, binders, etc.
When charcoal is burned, some of the chemicals released are drawn into the shisha cloud through the perforations in the aluminum foil onto which it is placed. The greater the quantity of charcoal used during a waterpipe session, the higher the potential intake of these harmful substances.
Since more charcoal is used than tobacco in a shisha session, the selection of charcoal can have a significant impact on the composition of the shisha cloud.
Consumers can perceive differences in taste profiles between charcoal products, which may be related to the HPHCs generated through their use of the shisha pipe. Consequently, many consumers in North America and the European Union now use coconut-derived charcoals.
In a 2019 study by AIR (comparing flavored shisha cloud with cigarette smoke: HPHC yields), Three Kings Quick Light charcoal (a wood-derived charcoal product which may use an ignition agent) was used as the heating source. In this assessment, only 12 of the 41 HPHCs evaluated were detected in the shisha cloud, several of which potentially arose from the charcoal.
As per the study, coconut-derived charcoal may present a lower risk compared to wood-derived or those containing ignition agents, which will be the subject of further research.
Using A Heat Management Device
In preparing a waterpipe for use, perforated aluminum foil is placed across the shisha head. The aluminum foil is used to prevent the charcoal from touching, and thereby burning the shisha, which would result in the formation of chemicals associated with smoking-related disease. However, this arrangement does permit the chemicals released from the burning charcoal, such as carbon monoxide, to be drawn through the perforations into the shisha cloud.
The use of an HMD reduces exposure to chemicals generated from the burning charcoal by preventing them being drawn through the waterpipe into the shisha cloud.
A Heat Management Device (HMD) is an alternative to perforated aluminum foil, and broadly consists of a metal box in which the charcoal is contained incorporating a ventilation mechanism to modify the burn rate of the charcoal.
HMDs are generally made from aluminum, which ensures the shisha head is more evenly heated. This results in a denser shisha cloud, while also significantly reducing the passage of chemicals from the burning charcoal.
In a study conducted by AIR in 2019, the “Kaloud Lotus” HMD device significantly increased shisha cloud density, likely because of more uniform heating, while reducing carbon monoxide yields compared to the use of a conventional shisha head covered with perforated aluminum foil.