Everyone has done stuff on holiday that they wouldn't normally do at home, all for the sake of trying new things. However, if you're off on your jollies and fancy having a go at smoking shisha, you might be better off steering clear.

It might seem like a harmlessly Instagram-able moment - but it turns out just one session inhaling the shisha smoke (also known as hookah smoke) could be worse than smoking a whole packet of cigarettes.

According to experts at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, people who inhale the sweet-smelling smoke are more likely to develop diseases such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and dyslipidemia.

The experts did a study of almost 10,000 people in Iran - making up a sample of smokers, non-smokers, ex-smokers, cigarette smokers and hookah smokers - and published the findings in Diabetology and Metabolic Syndrome.

All participants in the study were questioned about their smoking history, as well as cardiovascular risk factors and their experiences with anxiety and depression.

One of the experts and authors of the study wrote: "Obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and dyslipidemia were positively associated with hookah smoking while negatively associated with cigarette smoking.

"In contrast with the public belief that hookah eliminates the toxicity of tobacco in comparison with cigarettes, we found that the adverse effects of hookah smoking could be even greater than cigarettes."

Smoking shisha is a popular pastime in many places and is thought to originate from the Middle East.

Discussing the study with the Telegraph, Professor Gordon Ferns of Brighton and Sussex Medical School said: "A single session of hookah smoking may be equivalent to more than a packet of cigarettes, and the inhaled toxic compounds may be even greater.

"It is unclear why hookah smoking is associated with obesity and diabetes.

"It is possible that the toxins in the smoke stimulate an inflammatory response that causes tissues to become resistant to the effects of the hormone insulin, that regulates glucose in the blood.

"However, it is also possible that hookah smoking is associated with other social behaviours that lead to weight gain.

"There is now good evidence that hookah smoking is not harmless. The risk of hookah smoking with respect to some types of cancer is well established, and the evidence for an association with cardiovascular disease is growing."

Hooka smoking can be a prolonged activity as people can spend several hours leisurely smoking it - it's thought that one session or one hour of smoking shisha equates to 200 puffs of hookah, meaning around 90,000 millilitres of smoke can be inhaled.

Featured Image Credit: PA

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