Analysis of Toxic Metals in Smoked and Unsmoked Waterpipe Tobacco using Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy
The use of waterpipe tobacco smoking (WTS) is common practice in the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East, and is starting to become more popular in Europe and the United States. The prevalence of WTS is increasing the most with youth and university students. Waterpipes have been used for at least four centuries as a purportedly less harmful method of tobacco use. However, new information about WTS has shown that users are exposed to carcinogens such as heavy metals, carbon monoxide, and phenols. The goal of this study was to determine the concentrations of three known human carcinogens, Cadmium, Cobalt, and Lead, in store-bought shisha before and after it is smoked through a waterpipe. This study determined differences in concentrations between bulk, unsmoked shisha and smoked shisha. The concentrations of the metals in the bulk, unsmoked shisha were significantly more than the smoked shisha. This demonstrates that these three heavy metals may enter the human body through WTS and can lead to adverse health effects.