SECTION Editor • eRIN MEYERING
Hookah: worth the health risks?
may 20, 2009 • Volume 19, Issue 9
“Hookah is definitely hazardous to people’s health, because when you smoke it there is no filter and you inhale more [chemicals], which means more tar is going into your lungs which could cause lung cancer.” junior Mannu Bains
Hookah Fast Facts • A hookah that is smoked for 45 minutes delivers 36 times more tar than a cigarette, 15 times more carbon monoxide and 70 percent more nicotine. • Hookah smoke contains toxic compounds including carbon monoxide.
• Hookahs and hookah smoke contain tobacco specific nitroamines that are cancer causing.
Hookah, or otherwise known as narghile, shisha and goza, is a water pipe which consists of four basic parts: a smoke chamber, which is filled with water, a bowl that contains the tobacco, a pipe that connects to the bowl and a hose that allows the user to inhale the hookah smoke. Although many people believe that the water in the hookah filters out the unhealthy chemicals in tobacco, this is not true. Hookah smoke contains higher quantities of toxic metals like arsenic, nickel, cobalt, chromium, lead, and cadmium, as compared with cigarette smoke.
“Hookah is definitely hazardous to people’s health because when you smoke it there is no filter and you inhale more [chemicals] which means more tar is going into your lungs which could cause lung cancer,” junior Mannu Bains said. When a smoker inhales through the tube, a pressure difference forces air past the heating source and heats the tobacco, which gives off smoke. The smoke is pulled away from the tobacco and passes through the water and into the smoke chamber, from which it is inhaled by the smoker. After passing through the water, tobacco smoke still contains high levels of
• Sharing the mouthpiece (commonly known to many hookah smokers as a “condom”) has a risk of infection including Herpes. • Smoking hookah has been linked to cancer of the gums (much like chewing tobacco) and gum disease. jerome bwire photo
toxic compounds, including carbon monoxide, heavy metals and cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens). Hookah smoke also delivers significant levels of nicotine, which is the addictive substance in tobacco. The device, originally from India, has been used for centuries in the Middle East and Asia to smoke tobacco and is rapidly growing in popularity among teens and young adults in the United States. “I smoke hookah alone, it’s more of a social thing and I think people do it most of the time because they’re bored of what they are used to smoking. Hookah is something new,” junior Didar Singh said.
• Coals create a health risk as well. Breathing in the combination of the coals compounds adds to and possibly increases health risk for hookah smokers. • Hookah can become addictive and does produce nicotine as well as a number of other toxins such as carbon monoxide, tar and myriad carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). • Hookah smoke contains higher quantities of toxic metals like arsenic, nikel, cobalt, chromium, lead and cadmium, as compared with cigarette smoke. information Courtesy ProgressiveU.org