Cigarettes vs E-cigarettes & Hubbly: Which is worse?

Smoking is bad for your health – this is a warning that you might see wherever you see cigarettes or read about them. You’ll hear about the damage it causes to your lungs, like the fact that it causes emphysema (a disease of the lungs causing shortness of breath) or lung cancer. You might even hear about the damage it does to your teeth, nails and skin (did you know that smoking might even make acne worse?!). But those are all the warnings you might get about ‘regular cigarettes’ – what about the new, ‘trendier’ ways of smoking, like Hubbly Bubbly (aka. Hookah smoking) or E-cigarette smoking (aka Vaping). These types of smoking might look a little cooler and a little less harmful, but there are actually dangers behind smoking both of these as well. Here are the effects of each choma.

Hubbly Bubbly

Hubbly Bubbly, or hookah smoking, has become very popular. You might have seen people (or maybe even been a part of the group of people) smoking these hubby bubbly at a party or in someone’s house. Even those who prefer not to smoke at all might choose to smoke hubbly because it seemslike it’s much less harmful than the effects of smoking cigarettes and it ‘looks cool’. That couldn’t be further from the truth choma. In fact, here are 3 major myths about hubbly:

Myth 1: Hubbly is less harmful than smoking cigarettes

You’re actually at risk of the same effects and diseases as smoking cigarettes, including cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease. You might think that the water filters the smoke in some way, but it doesn’t chomas. In fact, most people inhale more smoke when smoking a hubbly than they would smoking regular cigarettes. And because you’re more likely to smoke hubbly in a social setting, you’re more likely to smoke it for a longer period of time.

Myth 2: Hubbly is not addictive

Shisha or sheesha tobacco (the mix used in hubbly) is still tobacco choma! It contains all the cancer-causing chemicals found in cigarettes; including nicotine (which is addictive), tar and other harmful chemicals. So just like with any other tobacco product, smoking hubbly often is likely to lead to addiction.

Myth 3: Smoke from Hubbly has fewer toxins

The charcoal burned, often produces its own toxins that include high levels of carbon monoxide (a toxic gas). This toxic gas may cause heart and lung disease. You might think that because the smoke is being filtered by water that all the harmful toxins are being filtered out, but the water does not filter out the cancer-causing chemicals. There are many cancer-causing chemicals associated with smoking hubbly. Many of the chemicals released when smoking hubbly also affect those who are nearby, even if they are not smoking. Since it’s a combination of tobacco and charcoal, it is actually a double dose of toxins.

To find out more about the dangers of smoking hookah, read this article here choma.

E-Cigarettes/ Vaping

 E-cigarettes are often considered to be less harmful than both normal cigarettes and hubbly. People who are trying to quit cigarettes are often badly advised to try e-cigarettes because they’re seen as pure and safe. But in reality, there is more harm to smoking cigarettes than you might realise. Here are some myths about e-cigarettes:

Myth 1: Vapour from e-cigarettes is pure

E-cigarettes may not contain all of the harmful chemicals that are produced when you smoke a cigarette, but they do contain many. Importantly, e-cigarettes still contains nicotine, which is the chemical associated with the most severe effects of smoking. Some studies have also shown that e-cigarettes release other harmful chemicals while you smoke them, not found in cigarettes.

Myth 2: E-cigarettes are safe

You are inhaling toxic chemicals when you smoke an e-cigarette.  The concentrated cartridges are released under pressure to allow them to be “smoked” and there are reported cases of the devices exploding and causing serious injury. Liquid nicotine is also highly poisonous if it comes into direct contact with your body, swallowing it by accident is often fatal. There have been cases where people have accidentally swallowed the liquid nicotine.  Overfilling the cartridge, not holding an e-cigarette properly or inhaling too hard are all things that can cause the e-liquid to leak, leading to you accidentally getting e-liquid in your mouth.

Myth 3: They don’t produce second-hand smoke

Actually, they do choma. As a bystander, you can still be exposed to nicotine and other toxins. Although the exposure from e-cigarette vapour is less than regular cigarettes, it is still harmful choma. This particular myth is a huge problem because those who smoke it often do so in places where smoking cigarettes is prohibited.

To find out more about the dangers of smoking e-cigarettes, read this article here choma.

So, choma, the short answer to what’s better among cigarettes, e-cigarettes and hubbly is all of them are damaging to your health. Neither e-cigarettes nor hubbly are really a good alternative to regular cigarettes. The best thing to do is to not smoke at all.

If you are a smoker try quitting altogether. Remember, always put your health before any trend.

For tips on how to quit smoking cigarettes read this article choma.

Cigarette Laws in South Africa

Most of us, I’m sure, are now aware that there are certain places in South Africa where smokers are not allowed to smoke due to the negative impact it has on second-hand smokers, like the risk of getting lung cancer. In 2000, South Africa became one of the first countries globally to ban public smoking by introducing its Tobacco Control Amendment Act. You might still not be aware of the smoking laws in South Africa and what the punishments are should you be caught disobeying them, so here’s a breakdown chomas.  

Cigarette Laws

  • If you are under 18, you are banned from buying cigarettes. This includes buying flavoured tobacco products used for hookah smoking. You are also not allowed to enter into smoking areas if you are under 18.
  • Smoking in banned places like restaurants, offices and malls where there is no isolated, sealed off smoking room is illegal.
  • No smoking in a car (even if it’s your own car) when one of the passengers is under 12 years. This is because children are negatively affected by tobacco smoking because their lungs are either still developing or too weak to handle that kind of environmental pollution.
  • Smoking in partly closed public areas such as balconies, pavements and parking areas is not allowed.
  • Smoking in locations used for commercial childcare activities, for schools or teaching/tutoring such as crèches is banned.
  • Tobacco companies aren’t allowed to advertise, hold parties or use marketing to target the youth.
  • Those sugar cigarettes in cute packaging which some of us have been exposed to have now been banned. Children learn by example and if they buy sweets and toys that look similar to cigarettes they are more likely to start smoking because of curiosity.
  • No smoking is allowed in cinemas, on domestic flights in the country and all public transport.
  • Some hotels have also banned smoking inside the building.
  • Only up to 25% of a public place, such as a building or public transport can be allocated a smoking area. This area needs to be physically isolated from the rest of the interior. In other words, this smoking area needs to be enclosed and can only be used as a smoking area where the smoke can escape to the outside.
  • Cigarettes are not be sold individually or ‘loose’.
  • Some restaurants allow families with young children to sit in the smoking area of a restaurant because there might be adults in the family who want to smoke. By law, the manager of the restaurant must make sure that no one under 18 is present in that smoking section.

Punishment for disobeying these laws

  • If the owner of a restaurant/pub/workplace has broken the cigarette laws, where smokers are smoking in a non-smoking are or there are under 18s present in the smoking area, then they will be fined up to R50 000. This is because they have put those non-smokers/second-hand smokers in harm through indoor pollution. Second-hand smokers are at risk for the same health problems that smokers are at risk for.
  • This fine also applies to people selling cigarettes to people under 18.
  • Any smoker found smoking in a non-smoking zone/area will be fined R500.
  • If someone is caught selling a ‘loose’ cigarette they can be fined up to R100 000.

The reason that there are South African laws that ban smokers from smoking in certain areas is because second-hand smoking affects non-smokers. It also damages their health, risking them in also getting lung cancer against their will. So, if you are a smoker, be considerate to those who are non-smokers, look out for the ‘no smoking’ signs and try and obey the laws by smoking in allocated smoking areas. If you have anything to add, please share your story.

The Dangers of Hookah Smoking

If you don’t already know chomas, “hookah smoking” is smoking that involves a water pipe which typically consists of a head that is connected to a water jar. This water jar has an attached hose and mouthpiece. Most people use tobacco and a wet fruit preparation which they place below a burning charcoal in the head of the apparatus. The wet fruit preparation gives the tobacco flavour.

The hookah has many names, the most popular being the ‘hubbly bubbly’, ‘shisa’, ‘argileh’ or the ‘goza’. It looks nothing like a cigarette but, according to health experts smoking a hubbly bubbly or tobacco water pipe for at least an hour is as harmful as smoking up to 200 cigarettes. There is this misconception that smoking hookah is not as harmful as smoking cigarettes.

A hubbly bubbly is almost always used to smoke tobacco and this explains why it carries many of the dangers similar to cigarette smoking. The water does not filter out any of the toxins in the hubbly bubbly.

Hubbly bubblies are so dangerous to your health that they have become the next target in the battle against respiratory diseases in Cape Town. City Health is strategising to seek for more legislative clarity on the hookah. A member of the mayoral committee for health, Councillor Benedicta van Minnen, mentioned that the city would push hard for complete laws to govern the smoking of the hookah pipes.

According to CANSA (The Cancer Association of South Africa), there are three popular myths associated with smoking the hubbly bubbly.

Myth 1: Less harmful than cigarettes

As mentioned earlier, this is not true at all. Hookah smokers, and second hand smokers, are at the risk of the same kind of diseases that are caused by cigarette smoking. These diseases include cancer and heart respiratory diseases. The smoke coming from the hookah has several toxins which are known to cause lung cancer and other diseases. This is according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Myth 2: Hookah smoke is less harmful

Not true! Hookah smokers and second hand smokers (people exposed to the smoke of a hookah smoker) inhale a double dose of toxins. This means that there are two times more toxins found in the hubbly bubbly than in cigarettes.

Myth 3: Not addictive

Tobacco is addictive, you have seen this warning on cigarettes packets, right chomas? This means that the tobacco found in a hubbly bubbly is just as addictive as the tobacco found in cigarettes. The more frequent you smoke a hubbly bubbly, the higher the chance of you being addicted to it.

Smoking a hubbly bubbly is becoming an increasingly popular activity, mainly because it is seen as a fun way to get together with friends but when you’re young, your lungs are still growing and smoking the hookah can cause permanent damage.

Tobacco found in cigarettes is just as dangerous as the tobacco found in the hubbly bubbly, no matter what the flavour. It is not a safe substitute to smoking cigarettes chomas, it can be deadly too.