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. 


Holy Smokes! by Maria Dorfner

By now, even doctors know smoking is bad for them.

It’s addicting.  One of the hardest things to quit.

Pick any excuse.  There are thousands of ’em.

There are only two ways I’ve heard of people quitting.  One is cold turkey.  They wake up one morning and decide that’s it, I’m done.  Cutting back beforehand works. But once you decide to have that final cigarette –that has to be it.

The second successful way to quit is from going to see someone called, The Mad RussianWendy Diamond told me about him. More on him later.

Note:  If you don’t read the entire blog & need help quitting click here for tips from The Cleveland Clinic:  Health Tip: Choose Your Day to Quit Smoking (nlm.nih.gov)

First, let’s take a look at the latest health headlines:

STUPID STUDY NUMERO UNO: Poorer Folks May Find It Harder to Quit Smoking

“Well, Holy Smokes Shirlock!  That’s why when taxes are placed on vices —poor people are hit the hardest.  Why on earth they need to do a study with thousands of people to know it’s harder for poor people to quit smoking is beyond me. Poor people are more stressed.  Why are they more stressed?  They’re poor!   Well, if we redefined ‘WEALTH’ in our country –they might be less stressed.   Also note that a pack of cigarettes in New York City can cost up to $13.00.  The average smoker in New York City spends $3300.00 a year on cigarettes.”

HealthDayFri, Jan 20, 2012

Quitting smoking is much more difficult for poor people than for those who have greater financial and social status, U.S. researchers have found.

For the study, more than 2,700 smokers were given nicotine patches and a type of treatment called cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is based on the idea that people can learn to change their behavior by changing their thinking patterns. The researchers then assessed the participants’ progress in quitting smoking three and six months after the treatment period.

The investigators found that, compared to people with the lowest socioeconomic status, those with the highest socioeconomic status were 55 percent more likely to have quit smoking after three months, and 2.5 times more likely after six months. The term socioeconomic status takes into account factors such as income, education, occupation and where a person lives.

In addition, the study authors found that people with a low socioeconomic status received less treatment, and had fewer resources and less support to sustain abstinence from smoking.

The study findings were released online Thursday in advance of publication in the March print issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

The findings suggest efforts are needed to provide lower socioeconomic status groups with more treatment, and that strategies should target common challenges, such as stress levels and proximity to other smokers, Christine Sheffer, of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, and colleagues said in a journal news release.

STUPID STUDY NUMERO DUO:  Brits Would Rather Quit Chocolate Than Smoking in 2012

LEEDS, England, /PRNewswire/

More people would like to cut down on or give up chocolate than smoking this year, according to the Interflora New Year’s Resolution Survey.

While nine per cent of people in the survey said that quitting smoking was their New Year’s resolution, more people said they will be cutting out or cutting down on their chocolate intake, with 10 per cent resolving to do so in 2012.

The top resolution for over 700 people who answered the survey was to lose weight, with 47 per cent of respondents making it a resolution in 2012. With Britain in the midst of a double-dip recession, money is at the forefront of many people’s minds and 35 per cent of survey respondents saying they have resolved to save this year.

The London Olympics are fast-approaching and there are signs that the Great British public are getting into the Olympic spirit by resolving to get active and take care of their bodies. Getting fitter was a New Year’s resolution for 43 per cent of people surveyed, while 45 per cent of respondents included healthier eating on their to-do list for 2012.

While many of the resolutions people say they have made appear very healthy and noble – such as the nine per cent of people who are aiming to cut down on or give up drinking alcohol – the survey also revealed much doubt over whether or not resolutions would be kept.

Just 33 per cent of survey respondents said they expected to keep their New Year’s resolution for the whole year, while 56 per cent were unsure and a brazen 11 per cent said plainly that they expected not to keep their resolution throughout 2012.

Those sceptical about their propensity to keep their resolutions may be proven right, if 2011’s statistics are anything to go by. Of the 39 per cent of survey respondents who said they made a resolution in 2011, just five per cent managed to keep theirs for 9-12 months. Over a third of last year’s resolvers lasted less than three months with their New Year aims!

So why were people so bad at keeping their resolutions last year? According to 61 per cent of respondents, a lack of willpower broke their resolve, while 44 per cent of people simply couldn’t resist the voice of that little devil on their shoulder – they said they broke their resolution because of “temptation”.




For a mere $65 and a quick jaunt to Brookline, Mass., Yefim “The Mad Russian” Shubentsov will erase a lifetime of deeply rooted bad habits, phobias, and cravings in a matter of seconds.

“All it takes is a wave of his hand, what sounds like a whoosh and bang-o! That’s it,” says former patient Jeffrey Buccacio.

Yefim’s unusual practice has drawn worldwide attention, including some big names in the entertainment world.

Musician Billy Joel credits Yefim for ending his 27-year smoking habit. Joel, who had tried to give up smoking for years, read about Yefim in the paper. “He is intense and convincing,” says Joel, who says he has not picked up a cigarette since leaving Yefim’s office.

Actress Drew Barrymore also credits Yefim with ending her smoking habit. “It’s so cool. I’ve gone three months now. I went to the Mad Russian and whatever it is that he does — it works.”

Friends star Courtney Cox-Arquette and husband David Arquette also made the pilgrimage to Boston.

“They never tried to quit before, because Courtney really liked to smoke, but knew it was bad for her,” says Whitney Smith, Arquette’s assistant. “They knew they’d both have to do it together because it is hard for one person in a relationship to quit. So whatever it is this guy did it worked, because to date they are two years smoke-free.”

Hollywood confidential

Yefim thinks celebrities are drawn to him because of his success rate, as he has helped over a hundred thousand people to date, and because he keeps their clandestine visits hush-hush.

“I keep their secret and don’t talk about my patients, famous or not. They feel comfortable and trust me,” says Yefim, who authored Cure Your Cravings: The Revolutionary Program Used by Thousands to Conquer Compulsions. “For instance, when Billy Joel came to me. I did not know who the hell he was. I did not talk about him ever, until I got his permission.”

When a celebrity does wish to keep a low profile, Yefim will offer a private session. While Billy Joel and the Arquettes participated in his group session, Barrymore opted not to.

“She didn’t want to be in a group because she was embarrassed,” says Yefim, who did not accept payment from Barrymore. “She is a nice actress and I got pleasure watching her movies, so why not? I can afford it.”

But Yefim’s apparent magic extends far beyond the glamour of Hollywood.

Buccacio, 54, from Massachusetts, had 20% of his lungs removed as a result of suffering from severe emphysema. Unable to control his three-pack a day smoking habit, he visited Yefim. Seven years later he has yet to touch a cigarette.

“I’d been to 10 or 12 different places trying to quit,” declares Buccacio. “All were unsuccessful until I met this grouchy little Russian guy named Yefim, and he cured me. I’m still not sure how, but all I can say is that he saved my life and you can take that to the bank.”

But what is Yefim’s secret?

“It’s purely a physical process,” claims the 61 year-old Moscow native. “Normally you are not supposed to have pain and inflammation and we are not born with a desire to smoke, overeat or crave chocolate. The desire is formed after we try it. The energy I give corrects the body to go back to the way it was intended to be originally.”

The energy Yefim speaks of is a para-science called bioenergetics, a healing life force that circulates within all living things. While this may sound like a science fiction fantasy, Yefim emphasizes there’s nothing mystical about his methods.

According to Yefim, we all have this power within us; we just don’t know how to use it. Without actually touching you, he says he’s able to physically manipulate this invisible energy field that surrounds every person’s body. He says he transforms the energy in the brain back to its original form, the way it existed before a person began their given addiction.

Even an addiction as powerful as smoking.

Captive audience

According to the American Lung Association, an estimated 157,400 Americans will die in 2001 from lung cancer, accounting for 28% of all cancer deaths. The disease kills more people than AIDS, breast, colon, and prostate cancer combined. Over 420,000 people in the U.S. will die of smoking-related diseases this year.

Yefim, who holds no medical degree, has a hard time describing how using this energy makes him feel. “I feel something,” he says. “You can’t easily explain love or hate either, but it is a real sensation, like static electricity.”

Insurance broker Stan Keizer is equally at a loss to describe the experience. “I don’t know what he did, or the power he has, but for me it worked,” says Keizer. “I had been smoking for 36 years. When I told my doctor I was going to him, he laughed. Well, he’s not laughing anymore.”

But many doctors remain suspicious of Yefim’s methods and claims.

Dr. Arthur Brody, director of the primary care smoking cessation therapy program at the VA healthcare system, believes that if you want to quit smoking, it’s always best to begin with a method proven by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as smoking has a very high relapse rate.

According to Brody, the most effective ways of quitting smoking are counseling and medication. The most proven methods are nicotine replacement therapy, using a nicotine patch or gum, and anti-depressant medication like bupropion, also known as Zyban. Nicotine withdrawal is often associated with depression and anxiety.

“The success rate of people that use this particular combination is about 50%, and that’s very good,” says Brody, who is also an assistant clinical professor of psychiatrics and bio-behavioral sciences at UCLA. “People quitting on their own with no help has an extremely low success rate of 2-5%.”

Dr. David Malin, professor of philosophy from the University of Houston-Clear Water, who has been researching a nicotine vaccine, concurs with Brody about the best methods of quitting.

“The nicotine vaccine is still in the early testing phase, and we are about five years away from presenting it to the FDA,” reports Malin. “However, unlike other vaccines, this will be a supplement to medications and therapy. It’s intended to help increase the rate of people who quit.”

Brody, while somewhat skeptical of Yefim’s highly unorthodox techniques, does commend Yefim for educating his patients about the risks of smoking. “It’s part of what we do here, too. Our group counseling always involves an education component. Practical counseling is very important.”

And how did The Mad Russian, whose smoking cessation seminars are completely booked through August, acquire this moniker?

“Once, in my office, came this lady with a balloon of oxygen connected with her nose and she said, ‘I have one lung. The other was removed because of cancer. My remaining lung has emphysema and I smoke 2 ½ packs of cigarettes a day and if I don’t have a cigarette at least every three hours I feel I’d lose my mind. What do you think about that?'”

“I said to her, ‘My dear, you cannot lose what you do not have.’ She screamed, ‘You are mad!’ But she quit and is still alive. She still doesn’t like me. She told everyone that I’m the Mad Russian.”

Ask his celebrity admirers, and they’ll tell you there’s a method to Yefim’s madness.










(CBS/AP)  Smoking kills one person every 6½ seconds, and poor people tend to smoke more, the chief of the U.N. health agency warned Friday ahead of its annual World No Tobacco Day.

Lee Jong-wook, director-general of the World Health Organization, challenged “everyone to think of how we can help to break the vicious circle of the poor consuming tobacco more, and tobacco consumption increasing poverty.”

Despite a WHO campaign, tobacco consumption is still rising, “mostly in developing countries, adding significantly to their burden of disease and poverty,” Lee said. “The world cannot accept such easily preventable human and economic losses.”

Many governments organize events every May 31 to commemorate World No Tobacco Day and spotlight the fight against smoking-related illnesses. No events are planned at the WHO’s Geneva headquarters this year because Monday is a Swiss national holiday and U.N. offices here will be closed.

Tobacco use kills 4.9 million people annually, and that figure is expected to double in the next 20 years.

This week, the U.S. Surgeon General expanded the list of diseases linked to smoking to include acute myeloid leukemia, cancers of the cervix, kidney, pancreas and stomach, abdominal aortic aneurysms, cataracts, periodontitis and pneumonia.

WHO studies have long found that poorer people tend to smoke more in both developing and developed countries. They spend a higher proportion of their household income on tobacco products, often ahead of other basic needs such as food, health care and education.

“Consumption is inversely related to the socio-economic level — it goes up as the standard of living goes down,” Lee noted.

The number of tobacco users is increasing and is expected to hit 1.7 billion in 2025, up from the current 1.3 billion.

Smoking is particularly widespread in developing countries, where 84 percent of smokers live. It places a huge burden on health services in countries which can ill-afford the extra cost.

In Egypt, WHO said, the annual cost of treating tobacco related diseases is estimated at $546 million.

WHO said tobacco can also damage countries’ economies because of increased health care costs; loss of foreign exchange, as most countries are net tobacco importers; loss of tax revenue due to smuggling; and damage to the environment from tobacco cultivation.

Even tobacco farmers — particularly those in developing countries — are not benefiting from tobacco sales.

“A big part of the health and economic costs related to tobacco are endured by small farmers and their families that grow the tobacco crop,” said Catherine le Gales-Camus, the WHO noncommunicable diseases chief.

Lee urged more countries to sign up to WHO’s landmark anti-tobacco treaty, which aims to reduce the damage tobacco does to health and economies. WHO brokered the treaty in May 2003 after years of negotiations.

Of WHO’s 192 member states, 118 — including the United States — have already signed the accord. Sixteen have ratified it, although U.S. lawmakers have not yet done so.

“Once the convention comes into force — 90 days after its 40th ratification — it will become a powerful means of controlling this entirely unnecessary threat to health and welfare,” Lee added. “Countries should lose no time in signing and ratifying the convention.”

Countries have until June 29 to sign the treaty, which also sets out provisions and minimum standards signatories will have to respect in their tobacco control programs.

The Surgeon General’s report said current evidence is not conclusive enough to say smoking causes colorectal cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer or erectile disfunction. Some research has associated those diseases with smoking, but Carmona said more proof is needed.

The evidence suggests smoking may not cause breast cancer in women but that some women, depending on genetics, may increase their risk of getting it by smoking, the report said.

Diseases previously linked to smoking include cancer of the bladder, esophagus, larynx, lung and mouth. Also tied to smoking was chronic lung disease, chronic heart and cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, peptic ulcers and reproductive problems.

According to the most recent available U.S. statistics, Americans consumed more than 2,500 cigarettes per adult in 1995 — the equivalent of 125 packs each, or more than two packs a week per person.

About 440,000 Americans die of smoking-related diseases each year. The report said more than 12 million people have died from smoking-related diseases in the 40 years since the first surgeon general’s report on smoking and health was released in 1964.

“We’ve known for decades that smoking is bad for your health, but this report shows that it’s even worse,” said Surgeon General Richard Carmona, announcing his first official assessment of the effects of tobacco.

This blog post also appeared in 2010 stating the same thing which is being reported as new today:

Stanton’s Addiction in Society blog at PsychologyToday.com.

Poor People Smoke More

Sorry, scientists, addiction reads income tax returns. Neuroscientists’

theories are completely incapable of dealing with this. Yet, science has

to take this truth into account, which is hard to do in a PET Scan. And

the only people less able to deal with poorer people smoking more is

tobacco companies, since they like to portray smokers as libertarians

who have consciously chosen to smoke as a part of the good life.

Okay. Prominent, well-off people smoke (although more often than

average cigars). But most cigarette smokers are part of the American

underclass, even though people in all social classes are equally likely

to have smoked in their lives. Even as the cost of smoking rises, poorer,

less educated people more often continue smoking.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that people who don’t

graduate high school smoke cigarettes at 2.5 times the rate of college

grads. This proves addiction is not something that occurs in the

laboratory, but in the context of people’s whole lives.

Figure Past Month Tobacco Use among Adults Aged 18 or

Older, by Education – 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health

Past Month Tobacco Use among Adults Aged 18 or Older, by Education - 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health

More information

The American Cancer Society offers a guide to quitting smoking.

If you need another incentive to quit, take a look at the financials & how much you can save if you quit: