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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


MOODLEY, T et al. Secondary polycythaemia with elevated carbon monoxide levels due to hookah pipe smoking: A public health concern. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2021, vol.111, n.10, pp.938-941. ISSN 2078-5135.

Hookah pipe (HP) smoking is perceived as a harmless activity, enjoyed by young adults and high school-going children. Awareness of the health impact of recreational habits, and their intersection with new social norms in the COVID-era, requires critical review. We describe a case series of young HP smokers presenting with secondary polycythaemia with significant clinical sequelae necessitating extensive work-up. HP smoking may lead to acute and chronic carbon monoxide intoxication, with resultant secondary polycythaemia and complications including provoked thrombosis.

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