With the dangers of cigarettes and cigars thoroughly documented, one of the alternatives that people have used to reduce these dangers is a hookah. Hookahs, which are essentially water pipes, allow people to smoke tobacco in a different way and there are often several flavors available to help make the experience more enjoyable. Originated in Persia and India, people have used hookahs for centuries. Just because they’ve been used for hundreds of years, however, doesn’t mean there aren’t hookah health risks that you should know about.
Hookah Smoking Has the Same Risks As Cigarettes
Because of the frequency that hookah smokers inhale the tobacco smoke, just a 1 hour session with a hookah can deliver up to 200 times the amount of inhaled smoke compared to an hour of smoking cigarettes. Hookahs deliver nicotine and other toxins as well, and considering the higher concentration levels, regular hookah smoking can actually be riskier than cigarettes!
That means hookah health risks include:
• Lung cancer.
• Reduced lung capacities.
• Oral, throat, and stomach cancer.
• Fertility issues.
Hookah Health Risks Lie in the Charcoal Lighting
Most hookahs utilize charcoal to heat the tobacco. This charcoal, when heated, will deliver carbon monoxide, different metals, and other toxins directly into the blood stream with the tobacco smoke. The tobacco juices which can be consumed during hookah use can also lead to oral irritations that can be a precursor to oral cancer. Different infectious diseases, such as the flu, can even be transmitted through the shared use of a hookah.
Health risks aren’t just confined to individual use either. Pregnant women who use a hookah just once a day during their pregnancy had children with lower average birth weights. These children also have a higher than normal risk factor for respiratory issues and diseases, such as asthma.
Second Hand Hookah Smoke Contains Similar Health Risks
Exposure to second hand smoke also contains hookah health risks. That’s because of the composition of the smoke, which has both tobacco and charcoal elements to it. Inhaling second hand hookah smoke is, in fact, just as dangerous as direct inhalation is under prolonged conditions. The evidence is clear – smoking a hookah put you at as much risk as smoking a cigarette, and because of the social nature of sharing a hookah, the risks may be even greater.
The only way to avoid the hookah health risks there are is to not smoke in the first place. Though one session with a hookah will not dramatically increase your risks, the potential nicotine addiction that can be immediate for some people may cause additional smoking sessions, thus furthering the risks. The proof is clear – there just isn’t a safe way to smoke.
Instead of using a hookah to satisfy a nicotine addiction, there are nicotine replacement products available on the market today. Though abstaining from nicotine is often the best solution, nicotine replacement products can allow for socialization without the hookah health risks that come from smoking.