What’s All the Hookah About?

The last time I was in the suburbs, I saw a smoke-filled place with a large sign that read, HOOKAH.  The sign to the right of the entrance said, MUST BE 21 TO ENTER.  

My friend’s 17-year-old son said, “All my friends are in there.”  His friends are 17-years-old.  I asked what it was and he said, “It’s smoke, but it’s not smoke. It’s safe. It’s like inhaling water.”

Oh REALLY?  Looks strange.  Bunch of kids.  What a racket, I think. 

When I get home I look it up.  As suspected, it’s not healthy at all.  It’s not like inhaling water.  Time to educate kids and their parents, as these lounges are popping up everywhere.  

Kids spend about $12.00 to smoke and they sell alcohol in these lounges.  Of course, the alcohol isn’t to be served to a minor, but then how is the whole place filled with kids? 

It’s amazing how NYC goes through so much trouble to ban cigarettes –yet these lung damaging dens are permitted.

FACT:  Recent studies have found that smoking from a hookah is just as dangerous as smoking a cigarette.

Most of the people think hookah smoking as a safer alternative to other forms of smoking because the hookah smoke is filtered through water before it is inhaled.

FACT:  Hookah smoking involves more nicotine than cigarette smoking because of the massive volume of smoke, smokers inhale during hookah smoking.
Is Hookah Smoking Safe?

There is a strong belief that the water in the hookah filters out all the “bad stuff” in the tobacco smoke, but it’s completely a nuisance.

FACT:  A study done by the World Health Organization showed that one hookah session of a mere few hours can deliver as much smoke into your lungs as 100 cigarettes.

FACT:  Hookah smokers get more smoke than cigarette smokers, and here’s an answer to this question:

Cigarette smoke is uncomfortably hot if a smoker inhales it deeply. Hookah smoke has been cooled by its passage through the water. The smoker has to inhale hard to pull the smoke through the hookah.   By this the hookah smoke goes deep to the lungs. In to the duration of a typical hookah session, the smoke deposits in huge volumes into the lungs.

What the Study say about Hookah Smoking ?

  • Research indicate that hookah smoking can be even more harmful to health than cigarette smoking.
  • Hookah smoke has a higher level of heavy metals and carbon monoxide than cigarette smoke, because of the charcoal which is burned on top of the tobacco mixture.
  • A 45 minutes of hookah smoking is equivalent to smoking 50 tobacco cigarettes.
  • It was found that smoking hookah for 45 minutes means consuming tar equivalent in 20 tobacco cigarettes.
  • The amount of cellular chromosomal damage produced inside the mouth in hookah smoking is the same as that seen in cigarette smoking.
  • The WHO advisory note states that “water-pipe smokers inhale more smoke resulting in more exposure to cancer causing chemicals and hazardous gases such as carbon monoxide. … Water-pipe smokers and secondhand smokers are at risk for the same kinds of diseases as are caused by cigarette smoking, including cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease and adverse effects during pregnancy.”

What is the bottom line for hookah smokers who think it as a better substitute to cigarette smoking?

Almost every method of making smoking safer is a mere nonsense. There is only one way to totally reduce the chances of fatal diseases caused by smoking, is to quit smoking completely.

What Hookah Smoking Does To Your Health?

The American Lung Association (ALA) identifies hookah smoking as a major health risk. The following are the health risks of hookah smoking:

  • Lung cancer, oral cancer
  • Gastric and esophageal carcinoma
  • Impaired pulmonary function
  • Heart disease
  • Reduced fertility
  • Low birth weight of the babies
  • Hepatitis or herpes (caused due to the sharing of hookah among smokers)

A cigarette may last for about 5 minutes, but a normal hookah session would last for 30 minutes. According to a study, a single hookah session may deliver the following:

  • 36 times the tar produced by cigarette
  • 1.7 times the nicotine produced by cigarette
  • 8.3 times the carbon monoxide produced by cigarette
  • 1 hour of hookah session can deliver 50 liters of smoke whereas a single cigarette delivers only 0.5 liters of smoke

What are the Dangers Of Sharing In Hookah Smoking?

Hookah smokers can use their own mouthpiece while smoking the hookah communally. However, sometimes it so happens that they share the mouthpiece.

FACT:  Sharing of the single mouthpiece can spread diseases such as herpes, hepatitis, tuberculosis.
Hookah Smoking
Hookah smoking is not a harmless form of smoking. It can be as dangerous as cigarettes. The long-term consequence of hookah smoking would be increased dependency. Some youngsters, who innocently try hookah as a safe means of smoking, can get addicted. They can further switch to cigarettes as they can be carried around easily. All this proves that hookah smoking cannot be dismissed as safe alternative. Hence, it always helps to stay away from a hookah.

——————————————————————————————————

From Richard Hurt, M.D.

Hookah smoking is not safer than cigarette smoking. Also known as narghile, shisha and goza, a hookah is a water pipe with a smoke chamber, a bowl, a pipe and a hose. Specially made tobacco is heated, and the smoke passes through water and is then drawn through a rubber hose to a mouthpiece. The tobacco is no less toxic in a hookah pipe, and the water in the hookah does not filter out the toxic ingredients in the tobacco smoke. Hookah smokers may actually inhale more tobacco smoke than cigarette smokers do because of the large volume of smoke they inhale in one smoking session, which can last as long as 60 minutes.

While research about hookah smoking is still emerging, evidence shows that it poses many dangers:

  • Hookah smoke contains high levels of toxic compounds, including tar, carbon monoxide, heavy metals and cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens). In fact, hookah smokers are exposed to more carbon monoxide and smoke than are cigarette smokers.
  • As with cigarette smoking, hookah smoking is linked to lung and oral cancers, heart disease and other serious illnesses.
  • Hookah smoking delivers about the same amount of nicotine as cigarette smoking does, possibly leading to tobacco dependence.
  • Hookah smoke poses dangers associated with secondhand smoke.
  • Hookah smoking by pregnant women can result in low birth weight babies.
  • Hookah pipes used in hookah bars and cafes may not be cleaned properly, risking the spread of infectious diseases.

————————————————————————————————————————————–

A harmful form of tobacco use, known as the hookah or water pipe, may be spreading among youth in the United States according to researchers from the University of California, San Diego’s Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and San Diego State University.  In April of 2011, they released a report that hookah use among teens in San Diego county rivals use of cigarettes.   This trend is emerging even as cigarette smoking among high school students is on the decline nationally.  

The team of researchers examined patterns of use, risk perception, and psychosocial risk factors among users, former users, and nonusers of hookah at three San Diego high schools.  The paper, “Determinants of Hookah Use among High School Students,” was published in the April edition of Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

Wael Al-Delaimy, MD, PhD, associate professor and chief of the Division of Global Health in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at UCSD School of Medicine is the team’s senior author and a research expert in the field of tobacco control.

“Our study suggests that hookah smoking is taking hold in some high school-aged students at a rate higher than previously reported, which is rather alarming as an emerging public health problem,” said Al-Delaimy. “Our data show that inaccurate perception about hookah harmfulness, its social acceptability, and presence of hookah lounges in residential areas, is driving the higher use among the teens in our study.”


 
More than a quarter of the surveyed students (26.1 percent) reported they have tried hookah, and 10.9percent smoked hookah in the past month, which is comparable to the percentage of high school students in this study population who smoked cigarettes in the past month (11 percent).  Furthermore, close to one third of hookah users have no intention of quitting this habit. 

“Understanding the hookah habits of teens is important because a person’s tobacco use pattern – whether or not, and how often – is usually established by age 18,” said Al-Delaimy.

“Hookah use is related to diseases, including coronary heart disease, adverse pulmonary effects and cancers of the lung, mouth and bladder.  Hookah smoke also contains many of the same carcinogens and heavy metals as cigarette smoke; longer hookah smoking sessions, combined with increased smoke volume, makes it potentially more dangerous than cigarettes.” 

Joshua Smith, PhD, from Al-Delaimy’s laboratory, surveyed 689 students from three high schools within San Diego County and found more than half of the students first learned about hookah from friends (50.3 percent) and another 20.9 percent learned about it when they saw a nearby hookah lounge.  

“The concern here is that the students surveyed believed hookah use to be more socially acceptable than cigarettes, and friends seem to be introducing this habit to others.  They also believe it is less harmful than cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco, which has not been reported previously among high school students,” said Smith.

Researchers recommend that the legality of hookah lounges in California and other states be addressed, adding that the banning of one product (cigarettes) with the legality of another (hookah) may suggest an element of reduced risk associated.   

“Policy makers and the tobacco research community should reassess priorities for this age group and address the growing hookah epidemic through continued research, media messaging, and restrictions on hookah lounges,” said Al-Delaimy. 

In addition to Al-Delaimy, the research team includes Joshua Smith, PhD, MPH, UCSD Department of Family and Preventive Medicine; Tomas E. Novotny, MD, MPH, San Diego State University; Steven D. Edland, PhD, UCSD Department of Family and Preventive Medicine; Richard Hostetter, PhD, San Diego State University; and Suzanne P. Lindsay, PhD, MSW, MPH, San Diego State University. 

Media Contact: Kim Edwards, 619-543-6163, kedwards@ucsd.edu

The bottom line is stay away from Hookah. 

 

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One thought on “What’s All the Hookah About?

  1. Thanks, Fitness Phoenix. There will be a radio broadcast this week on healthy eating you and your followers will definitely be interested in…I’ll post the link as soon as I have it. Hope all is going well.

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