What Is The Difference Between Shisha and Cigarette Smoke
AIR continuously invests in the development of technologies that can be used to reduce carbon monoxide or completely replace charcoal as a heating source, thereby eliminating or significantly reducing carbon monoxide in the Shisha cloud.
In 2019, AIR published research comparing Shisha cloud derived from tobacco-containing flavored Shisha products to cigarette smoke. One of the key findings was that shisha cloud contains fewer, and far lower concentrations of tobacco-related toxicants compared to cigarette smoke.
Unlike the shisha cloud, cigarette smoke is known to contain thousands of chemicals generated through the burning of tobacco, paper, inks, and adhesives used in their manufacture. Many of the chemicals present in cigarettes arising from these components are associated with smoking-related diseases.
In fact, the Shisha cloud is primarily composed of water, glycerol, and propylene glycol (similar composition to the aerosol formed by “vaping”). Carbon monoxide present in the shisha cloud arises from the burning charcoal used as the heating source.
Figure 2.0 visually demonstrates the significant differences between the equal volumes of cigarette smoke and shisha cloud. In contrast to the filter pad used for the collection of shisha cloud, the one used for the collection of cigarette smoke is completely discolored by the by-products of burning.
Figure 2.0: Equal volumes of a.) shisha cloud (Total Collected Matter), and b.) cigarette smoke (Total Particulate Matter) (right) collected on a filter pad during laboratory analysis.
The composition of shisha cloud is so different from cigarette smoke that simplistic comparisons of the weight of material collected on a filter pad do not provide meaningful information to help assess health risks. It is more useful to analyze the levels of individual chemicals in shisha cloud compared to cigarette smoke.
Since shisha tobacco products are not burnt like cigarettes, the levels of chemicals linked to smoking-related diseases are significantly reduced. This does not mean that shisha is risk free, but a significant number of hphcs present in cigarette smoke linked to smoking-related diseases were not detected in shisha cloud, as per AIR research.