Tar in one hookah session as much as you get from smoking 25 cigarettes

Hookah smoking also delivers 2.5 times the nicotine and 10 times the carbon monoxide of a single cigarette, study shows, prompting scientist to warn: Hookah smoking poses real health concerns

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 January, 2016, 6:15pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 January, 2016, 6:35pm

It may seem like a harmless way to unwind, but people who smoke hookah are actually inhaling a large load of toxicants, a new study shows. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine analysed previously published data from 17 studies and found that, compared with a single cigarette, one hookah session delivers approximately 125 times the smoke, 25 times the tar, 2.5 times the nicotine and 10 times the carbon monoxide. Hookah, also known as shisha, is a glass-bottomed water pipe in which fruit-flavoured tobacco is covered with foil and roasted with charcoal. The tobacco smoke passes through a water chamber and is inhaled deeply and slowly. There are several shisha bars in Hong Kong. “Our results show that hookah tobacco smoking poses real health concerns and that it should be monitored more closely than it is currently,” says lead author Dr Brian Primack. He notes that comparing a hookah smoking session to smoking a single cigarette is a complex comparison to make because of the differences in smoking patterns. “So, the estimates we found cannot tell us exactly what is ‘worse’,” says Primack. “But what they do suggest is that hookah smokers are exposed to a lot more toxicants than they probably realise.”

Magic mould: food preservative kills cancer cells, superbugs

A naturally occurring food preservative that grows on dairy products delivers a one-two punch to cancer and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a new University of Michigan study has found. Rats fed a “nisin milkshake” had 70-80 per cent of their head and neck tumour cells killed after nine weeks and survived for longer. Nisin, a colourless, tasteless powder, is typically added to food at the rate of 0.25 to 37.5 milligrams per kilogram. The mice were fed a far higher dosage of 800mg/kg. While promising, the results are small and in mice only, so it’s too early to say if nisin will act the same way in humans, says researcher Dr Yvonne Kapila, a professor at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. Nisin also fights deadly bacteria such as antibiotic-resistant MRSA. In a recent review paper, Kapila’s group looked at experimental uses of nisin to treat 30 different types of cancer; infections of the skin, respiratory system and abdomen; and oral health. “To date, nobody has found bacteria from humans or living animals that is resistant to nisin,” Kapila says.

Study looks at association of infant gut microbiome, delivery mode and feeding
The composition of the gut microbiome in infants at six weeks of age appears to be associated with how they were delivered from the mother’s womb and how they were fed, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics. The study involved 102 infants with an average gestational age of nearly 40 weeks, of whom 70 were delivered vaginally and 32 by caesarean section. In the first six weeks of life, 70 were exclusively breastfed, 26 had combination feeding (both breast milk and formula) and six were exclusively fed formula. Associations were found between the composition of the gut microbiome and the delivery mode. Differences in microbiome composition between infants delivered vaginally and infants delivered by caesarean section were equivalent or greater than the differences in composition by feeding method. Infants who were fed a diet of both formula and breast milk had a stool microbiome similar to that of infants who were exclusively fed formula. Exclusive breastfeeding was associated with a microbiome distinct from that of infants either exclusively fed formula or fed a combination of formula and breast milk. “Understanding the patterns of microbial colonisation of the intestinal tract of healthy infants is critical for determining the health effects of specific alterable early-life risk factors and exposures,” the study authors write.