Hookah: How bad is it for you?
What is hookah?
A hookah is a water pipe used to smoke tobacco through cooled water. When smoking hookah, charcoal heats the tobacco in the head of the pipe, and then smoke is filtered and cooled through water at the base before being inhaled through a hose.
With its fruity flavors and aromas, water-filtered smoke and the social atmosphere of hookah lounges, many people believe that hookah is a safe way to smoke tobacco.
How bad is hookah for you?
The truth is that smoking hookah comes with most of the same serious health risks as smoking cigarettes. Smoking tobacco through water does not filter out cancer-causing chemicals. In fact, smoking hookah requires longer, harder drags, forcing the smoker to inhale twice as deeply as regular cigarettes. This allows deadly chemicals to penetrate even deeper into the lungs.
Thanks to their social atmosphere, smoking at hookah bars is often more prolonged than smoking regular cigarettes. In one 60-minute hookah session, smokers are exposed to 100-200 times the volume of smoke inhaled from a single cigarette.
Hookah smoke also contains 36 times more tar and 15 times more carbon monoxide. It poses serious health risks to smokers and nonsmokers alike, including cancer, heart disease and lung damage. Plus, hookah smoke contains nicotine, making it easy to get hooked.
All tobacco products, including hookah, are dangerous.