No matter how you smoke it, it is still tobacco.
What is hookah?
Hookah is a tobacco pipe of Near Eastern origin with a long, flexible tube by which the smoke is drawn through a jar of water and then cooled.
- Hookah contains 5 times more cancer causing agents than cigarettes.
- Hookah use can cause nicotine addiction.
- Hookah contains 100 times more tar than cigarettes.
- Hookah use can lead to mouth cancer.
- Hookah contains 69 different carcinogens.
- Hookah use may lead to infertility.
- Hookah contains 11 times more carbon monoxide than cigarettes.
- Hookah use may cause impotence.
- Hookah contains 4 times more nicotine than cigarettes.
- Hookah users may become infected with herpes.
- Hookah use may cause gum disease and wrinkles.
Myth vs. Reality
MYTH: Hookah smoke is better for you than cigarette smoke and not addictive.
REALITY: Hookah smoke of various fruity flavors, tastes, and aromas can be even more harmful than disease-causing cigarette tobacco smoke. And, hookah smoke contains four times more nicotine (an addictive drug) than cigarette smoke. Some people can become addicted to nicotine after using any form of tobacco just a few times, including hookah.
MYTH: Smoking hookah is less harmful than cigarettes because the smoke passes through water which filters out the chemicals and other bad stuff.
REALITY: When hookah bubbles through water at the base of a hookah pipe it cools the smoke, but does not filter any chemicals out of the smoke. This “cooling” process forces a hookah smoker to inhale twice as deep as a cigarette smoker which causes chemicals, cancer causing agents, and other harmful elements to penetrate deeper into the lungs. Additionally, the charcoal that is used to burn the tobacco contains three times more carbon monoxide than cigarettes. Inhaling carbon monoxide can create serious breathing problems.
MYTH: Smoking hookah is just so much fun, relaxing, and social. It’s not like I do it every day.
REALITY: Hanging out with friends and smoking hookah may seem fun. However, the reality is 30 minutes of hookah smoking is the same as chain smoking a half a pack of cigarettes. So even smoking hookah once in a while can lead to addiction. Additionally, when you share mouthpieces you add the risk of getting colds, viruses like herpes, oral bacteria infections, and tuberculosis.
Asotra, Kamlesh. Hooked on Hookah? What You Don't Know Can Kill You. Burning Issues: Tobacco's Hottest Topics. Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program Newsletter 7, no. 3 (2005) 1-10.