Going to a hookah bar with some friends, choosing your favorite tobacco flavor and enjoying a good time, may sound like harmless fun.
Marissa Rojas, a hookah smoker says, “It is a very easy going atmosphere. There are a bunch of couches and cushions on the floor. Just people smoking hookah and drinking coffee; it’s like a coffee shop with hookahs.”
For many, smoking hookahs has become more of a social event and a time of leisure while enjoying the company of friends, but is it really safer than smoking regular cigarettes?
According to Dr. Jim Gibbs, Board Certified Family Physician at West Texas A&M University, “ It’s about 100 times as much smoke you are exposed to because it is over a period of time…so according to the studies, you get much much more of the dangerous chemicals in the hookah smoke.”
The World Health Organization explains that a session of hookah smoking takes up more time; therefore, there is more exposure to smoke over a longer period of time.
“A lot of the times because it does have the fruity taste and the sweet taste to it, people have the perception that it might not be as dangerous, but that is pretty much opposite of what is really true. People that smoke hookah do still get exposed to the tobacco and the chemicals on the tobacco, so it’s in fact if anything, more dangerous than smoking cigarettes,” said Dr. Gibbs.
Many believe that because the smoke is filtered in water, hookahs are safer than regular cigarettes, but this is actually a myth. Water does absorb some of the nicotine, but smokers are exposed to a significant amount that can lead to addiction.
Additionally, because of the reduced concentration of nicotine, the smoker may result in inhaling more smoke and exposed to higher levels of carcinogens and hazardous chemicals.
In the United States, as well as in other parts of the world, hookahs have become very popular, especially amongst teenagers
and young adults.
Also known as shisha, narghile and goza, the hookah is a water pipe that has been used for centuries in the Middle East and Asia to smoke tobacco. Mayo Clinic expert, Edward Rosenow, explains how the waterpipe works:
- The smoker inhales through the tube causing a pressure difference.
- This pressure forces air to pass the heating source and heats the tobacco.
- This gives off the smoke, which is pulled away from the tobacco.
- Then the smoke passes through the water and into the smoke chamber from which it is inhaled by the smoker.
Karen Green, owner of “The Hole in the Wall” hookah bar always takes into consideration certain regulations regarding who can smoke waterpipes. “It is tobacco. You have to be 18 or older. We do ID,” she says.
Even though these regulations are taken into consideration, it is important for everyone to think about the health risks that this substance can have.
- 12 puffs over 5- 7
Inhale 0.5 – 0.6 liters of smoke.
- 200 puffs over a
0.15 – 1 liter per puff.