Shisha smoking increases during the holy month of Ramadan in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with non-smokers also tending to pick up the habit, an expert said on Sunday.
"We spend more time in the lively atmosphere of restaurants. As a result, a marked increase in tobacco consumption occurs due to shisha smoking," Khaleej Times quoted UAE-based Indian doctor Sunil Sheshadri who works at Abu Dhabi's NMC Healthcare.
"Non-smokers too admit to indulging in post-meal shishas as part of the tradition of gathering with friends and family until the early hours."
Warning of ill-effects of smoking sheesha, Joseph Kurian, head of cardiology at Abu Dhabi's Lifeline Hospital, said: "One session of shisha is equivalent to smoking about one packet of cigarettes (20 sticks) and should not be taken lightly."
"It has a drastic effect on health as it aggravates cardiac problems and worsens blood pressure," Kurian added.
According to official reports, at least 26 men are killed each week in the UAE due to tobacco use. Besides these men, who make up 13 per cent of the smokers' population, 2.1 percent of women smokers or one woman on average is killed due to tobacco every week.
--Indo-Asian News Agency