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Is Smoking a Hookah Bad for You?

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The latest craze among young adults is not going clubbing, or drinking, it’s going to a hookah lounge to smoke. A hookah is a water pipe used to smoke tobacco through cooled water. Some of my friends frequent these lounges to sit and smoke flavored tobacco that is heated in a bowl on top of the hookah then the tobacco is smoked through cooled water that runs into the pipe. There seems to be a lot of myths surrounding whether or not smoking a hookah is good or bad. I decided to do my own research to see if the myths are true or false.

In the 2013 Nicotine & Tobacco Research, researchers treated cells from the lining of human lungs with tobacco and non-tobacco smoke from a water pipe smoking machine. They found that smoke from a hookah pipe slows down and stunts lung production regardless of whether the smoke came from a tobacco or tobacco-free product.(1) I did further research and here is what I found.

- Smoking tobacco through water does not filter cancer causing chemicals like some may think. As a matter of fact, it can harm and damage the heart and lungs as much or worse than cigarette smoke.(2)

- Smoking the different flavored herbs still exposes the smoker to tar and carcinogens; it’s the same as cigarettes.

- Hookah smoke contains high levels of arsenic, and 36 times more tar and more carbon monoxide and carcinogens than cigarettes. Because it requires taking harder and longer drags when smoking a hookah in comparison to smoking cigarettes.

- One hookah session can expose you to the amount of tar and nicotine equal to one pack of cigarettes.

- Smoking hookah may cause being addicted to smoking.(3)

- Smoking a hookah is just as dangerous or even more so than smoking cigarettes.(4)

- Just because hookah tobacco contains fruit, or is soaked in honey and is smoked through water doesn’t make it safer… You’re still smoking the cancer causing chemicals in the tobacco.

- Second hand smoke from hookah is just as bad as second hand smoke from cigarettes.

As per Adrienne J. Heinz, a researcher who studies alcohol and drug use at Stanford University School of Medicine in California, “People don't generally seem to understand just how dangerous hookah smoking can be”(5) Scientific literature states, hookah has been linked with health problems including chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, oral cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease and pregnancy complications similar to those seen with cigarette smoking. You also run the risk of contracting the herpes and other viruses from sharing mouthpieces.(6) Even though there seems to be a big misconception that smoking a hookah is safer than cigarettes, let me clear the hookah smoked air of this myth. Smoking a hookah is just as harmful as cigarettes, and can potentially be worst. I started to wonder; whatever happened to going to a dance club with your friends?

Resources: 1- http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/02/24/hookah-is-not-harmless-experts-... 2- http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1440-1843.2012.02194.x/abst... 3- http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertglatter/2012/09/18/is-hookah-smoking-l... 4- http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertglatter/2012/09/18/is-hookah-smoking-l... 5- http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/02/24/hookah-is-not-harmless-experts-... 6- http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertglatter/2012/09/18/is-hookah-smoking-l...

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