By A Correspondent- The smoking of shisha could increase the risk of one being infected with Tuberculosis (TB) as the hookah pipe is shared among a group of smokers at any given time, a local TB expert has warned.
Shisha smoking is increasingly becoming popular in Zimbabwe around some of the popular joints where multiple smokers take turns puffing on the pipes.
However, hygiene etiquette is given scant regard, with shisha sessions often going for hours in bars and lounges.
This means users are exposed to a higher volume of harmful bacteria and susceptible to infections.
Often, shisha is smoked in large groups, rather than as individuals and as people share mouthpieces, various commensal and pathogenic organisms may be transmitted between the smokers through saliva.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) National TB Program Manager Dr Charles Sandy said though there was no available data to quantify the extent to which smoking Shisha spreads TB, the practice increases the risk of TB transmission in the country.
Dr Sandy was speaking during a Stop TB partnership Social media campaign launch in Kadoma recently. He said:
On Shisha, we don’t have any data to say this is the amount of TB you get but I think with COVID-19 we know what’s happening with COVID.
Common sense is there that you actually increase your risk of infection by sharing the same air with somebody who is infected but we don’t have any data as yet that we can refer to and say according to this study by so and so.
Dr Sandy added that men were at greater risk of developing TB due to the high-risk behaviours they engage in.