"Single puff by 'huqqa' smoking is not safer than 'beedi' (Indian cigrattes) at any cost as both are injurious to lungs causing severe asthma leading to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease," addressing a patient-doctor interaction meet, Dr Virendra Singh, President of IACS and Editor of international journal 'Lung India' said.
    
Singh, who conducted a research here recently, debunked the long-held belief that 'huqqa' smoking is safer than 'beedi' smoking as the tobacco is inhaled after being filtered through water by a long pipe attached to it.
    
Singh, quoting the study, said about 10 percent more carbon monoxide was inhaled in a single puff by huqqa smokers and said it settles more deeply in lungs than by smoking a beedi.
    
Twenty percent of villagers in Rajasthan were addicted to beedi or huqqa which was proved to cause severe COPD in addicts aged 40 to 50 years, he said.
    
Twelve per cent people in rural areas die of COPD, followed by 8 percent deaths which were caused by heart attacks, Singh said, quoting national data.
    
In India, approximately 30 million people are estimated to be suffering from COPD and half a million die every year from it, Singh said.
    
COPD which is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide after heart diseases, stroke (paralysis), diabetes, would rank third in the 21st century, Singh added.
    
COPD is a non-communicable lung disease caused due to smoking, from smoke of 'chullah' in villages, vehicles' smoke, and dust in mines and factories, he said, adding the disease progressively robs sufferers of the ability to breath.
    
However, recent studies indicate that 25 to 50 percent of smoking addicts do no even know they have it, because its diagnoses often goes unrecognized, he said.
    
Advising patients Singh said, a painless five-minute test 'spirometry' could address the problem of under-diagnosis of this serious lung disease.

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