Eureka Alert

Researchers at the University of York has shown that a drug commonly used to help smokers overcome addiction to cigarettes does not have the same effect in shisha smokers.

Smoking tobacco through a waterpipe, often referred to as shisha or hookah smoking, is becoming popular, particularly among young people, across the globe. It is often considered a ‘safer’ alternative to cigarette smoking – a common misconception.

Research at the University of York, involving a trial with more than 500 daily shisha smokers in Pakistan, where shisha smoking is particularly common, showed that varenicline – a medication used to help tackle cigarette smoking – did not make a difference in assisting shisha smokers break the habit.

Professor Kamran Siddiqi, from the University of York’s Department of Health Sciences, said: “Shisha smokers inhale large volumes of tobacco and charcoal smoke exposing themselves to the same health risks as cigarette smokers, including a variety of cancers.

“Flavoured tobacco smoking, such as fruit shisha, has become particularly popular with young people, and in some countries, the hookah is a tourist attraction in some bars and restaurants.

“Whilst most countries, Pakistan included, recognise the dangers of shisha smoking, it can be difficult to regulate


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