Don’t get hookah’d, the very real dangers of hookah smoking

Dr. Angela Seabright
Adriane Davis

| 3 min read

With names like passion fruit, guava, bubble gum, and red gummy bear, it’s no wonder that some people think that smoking tobacco from a hookah is safer than smoking cigarettes.
The mass appeal to smoking hookah markets plush lounges and colorful hookahs with enticing, attractive names that appeal to a younger audience.
Hookah lounges seem to be popping up everywhere especially in college towns. College students who are under 21 and are not old enough to get into bars, now have a place to socialize in an environment that makes them feel relaxed and cool.
Unfortunately there are many misconceptions around hookah that can cause serious health problems.
Like cigarettes, the tobacco in hookah contains the addictive drug nicotine, which can affect the nervous system and the heart. A typical one-hour session of smoking hookah consists of 200 puffs of tobacco, compared to the average of 20 puffs from a cigarette. The long length of time that is spent smoking hookah, increases the chance that hookah smokers absorb more toxins than cigarette smokers.
The coal that is used to heat the tobacco in the hookah releases harmful chemicals like carbon monoxide and metals that can cause cancer. Not only does the coal raise the chance of causing health problems, the smoke from the hookah releases those toxins into the air, so even if you are not smoking the hookah, second hand smoke can still be harmful. Similar to the risks of cigarettes, the juices from the hookah can irritate the mouth and cause oral health problems too.
Along with the health risks related to the smoke, the hose attached to the hookah can increase the risks of passing infections like herpes and the flu.
One of the most common misconceptions surrounding hookah smoke is that the water filters out the toxins in the smoke, making it safe to smoke hookah.The truth is that the water does not filter the chemicals and toxins in the tobacco. Smoking hookah can be damage the heart and lungs just as much as cigarette smoke can.
Smoking hookah is not safer than cigarettes, it is not healthier than cigarettes and hookah can cause just as much damage as cigarettes. Hookah is a dangerous trend that is very attractive to a younger audience. The accessibility to hookahs and hookah pens is alarming because although marketers claim that they are not trying to market toward young people, the use of hookah continues to rise. The number of stores that sell hookahs and hookah pens has quadrupled in the last year and sales from hookahs have seen a huge spike.
Despite popular opinion hookahs are a danger to your health. It may be true that can relax you but there are much healthier ways to relax and have a good time. The next time your friends want to hang out at a hookah lounge, you might want to suggest a better, healthier option.
Photo credit: kkirasich

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