Gauteng health department warns youth on dangers of hubbly bubbly

Cancer, lung damage, heart disease, TB, herpes, early death are some of the dangers of hubbly bubbly. File Picture: David Ritchie / Independent Newspapers

Cancer, lung damage, heart disease, TB, herpes, early death are some of the dangers of hubbly bubbly. File Picture: David Ritchie / Independent Newspapers

Published Jan 16, 2024


The Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) said hubbly bubbly is more dangerous than ordinary cigarettes, and its addiction was 36 times more addictive than that of cigarettes.

“There is nothing cool about hubbly bubbly. This devil’s product took away my only son last year, ” these are the words of a Soweto mother who said her 24-year-old son died an early death due to the dangers associated with hubbly bubbly, also known as hookah pipe.

“I just can’t stand seeing young children engaged in this devilish behaviour. I just break down and cry whenever I see our children smoking hubbly bubbly. If it were not for the pipe, my son would not have died such an early death.”

Cancer, lung damage, heart disease, TB, herpes, and early death are some of the dangers of hubbly bubbly.

“A hookah smoker takes about 100 puffs in a single 45-minute session, while a cigarette smoker takes about 10 puffs per cigarette. In other words, smoking a hookah pipe can give you as much nicotine as smoking ten cigarettes,” Cansa said.

“Of course, it’s the tar in tobacco smoke that causes cancer. The smoke produced in a typical hookah smoking session can contain about 36 times more tar and about eight times more carbon monoxide than from a single cigarette.”

The SABC reported that hubbly bubbly has been described by health experts as South Africa’s newest “silent killer”.

The broadcaster reported that a 30-year-old victim of this highly addictive pipe spent two weeks in the ICU as a result of a stroke linked to hookah pipe complications.

SABC News reported that this young man’s chest was heavily filled with blood and water arising from the heavy inhalation of a nicotine-infested pipe.

The much-loved hookah pipe has become a common feature in South African townships, with a strong youth following. Young people standing in corners can be seen inhaling from the pipe on a daily basis. However, the dangers associated with this pipe are far from the cool factor that this pipe is associated with.

Cansa research by students from UCT found out that students who partake in the smoking of the water pipe believe that it is lighter and cheaper than cigarettes and that its nicotine is less than that of cigarettes.

However, evidence seems to suggest that is not the case.

The Gauteng Department of Health expressed concern over the dangers of hubbly bubbly, which has the potential to cause cancer among its legions of youth smokers.

Speaking to Independent Media, Gauteng Department of Health spokesperson Motaletale Modiba said the department has noted that the hubbly bubbly has become easily accessible to young people.

“Hubbly bubbly poses serious health risks to smokers, including cancer, heart disease, lung damage, and dental disease,” Modiba said.

“It is one of the substances that are being abused and forms part of the substance abuse campaigns and awareness. Substance abuse campaigns and awareness are done at the district health services in Gauteng province, including health education on the promotion and prevention of substance abuse.”

Some of the side effects that are associated with the pipe include dry eyes and mouth, lightheadedness and nausea, irritable cough, nicotine addiction, lung, bladder, and oral cancers, heart disease, lung disease, and breathing difficulty.

Saturday Star

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