Waterpipe smoking might be just as harmful as smoking cigarettes

Reem Waziry and Elie Akl

Elie_Akl[1] Reem Waziry headshotWaterpipe, also known as shisha, goza, narghile, arghile and hookah, is a traditional method for smoking tobacco. While it originated in Turkey, India and Iran, its use has spread on a global level over the past decade to the point of being labelled a global epidemic.

There are a number of explanations for the global spread of waterpipe tobacco smoking. First, people use it as a way to socialize, as it is smoked in groups. Second, the production of sweetened and flavoured tobacco (Maassel), resulting in aromatic and smooth smoke, can make it more appealing than cigarette smoking. Another major reason is a common misconception that waterpipe tobacco smoking is not harmful, or is less harmful than smoking cigarettes. Continue reading “Waterpipe smoking might be just as harmful as smoking cigarettes”

Economic recession, mental health and suicide

DGphoto 2014_0052David Gunnell

It’s over seven years since the onset of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis and we’re beginning to get a clear idea of its impact on mental health and suicide.

In keeping with previous economic recessions, the 2008 financial crisis was followed by rises in suicide deaths in many affected countries. As documented in an article published in the British Medical Journal in 2013, younger men appear to have been particularly badly affected.

Recently published research in the International Journal of Epidemiology has provided new insights into the impact of economic down turns on mental health. Using Ireland’s impressive National Registry of Deliberate Self-Harm and national suicide data, Paul Corcoran and colleagues found that there were increases in suicide and self-harm in men and women in Ireland in the years after recession began. The greatest rises were seen in men. There were an estimated 8,800 excess episodes of self-harm (mainly suicide attempts) and 560 suicide deaths in 2008-12 compared to pre-recession trends.  Continue reading “Economic recession, mental health and suicide”