Many people, especially young adults, are currently under the false impression that smoking hookah is completely harmless. They are unaware of the health risks associated with this recreational trend that is spreading like wildfire. Although the sweet fruity flavors of each inhale may seem perfectly safe to the user, they actually contain nicotine, a highly addictive drug found in tobacco.
Even though the tobacco found in hookah is different from the one found in cigarettes, it still contains toxic compounds in it that can result in oral, lung, bladder, and esophageal cancer. Chances of contracting oral cancer are dramatically increased because hookah is smoked for prolonged periods of time; this causes irritation in the mouth and windpipe. According to the Mayo Clinic, if the hookah pipes used in bars and cafes are not cleaned properly, they may even spread infectious diseases. In addition to serious diseases such as cancer, hookah users may suffer from reduced lung function and decreased fertility.
Many people may even try to claim that hookah is safer to smoke than cigarettes, but such is not the case. A typical hookah “sesh” may last up to an hour with an average of 200 puffs during that time span. This prolonged period of hookah smoking which allows for a larger intake of toxins, has potentially worse effects than your average cigarette use, which is 20 puffs. Secondhand smoke can also be very harmful to certain people, such as children and pregnant women.
Hookah, just like any cigarette that contains nicotine, is indeed habit forming and can lead to tobacco dependence. In fact, the level of metabolized nicotine taken in from a hookah pipe during a day is almost equivalent to that inhaled by someone who smoked 15 cigarettes throughout the day.
With all these myths surrounding the infamous hookah, it is easy for teens to fall into this sociable practice. Their friends may tell them that hookah is a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes and without the proper research into it, many teens will believe this fallacy. Hopefully though, people will become more aware hookah’s toxic nature and the practice will go up in smoke.