- Is Hookah Bad for You?
- Does Hookah Have Nicotine?
- Hookah Myths and Hookah Health Risks
- Myth #1: The Hookah Water Cleans the Smoke
- Myth#2: Nobody Gets Sick from Smoking a Hookah
- Myth#3: Hookah Smoking Is Safer than Cigarettes
- Myth#4: Hookah Smoking is Less Addictive than Smoking Cigarettes
- Myth#5: Hanging Out Without Puffing on the Hookah Is Safe
- Myth#6: Smoking a Non-Tobacco Herbal Blend Is Safe
- Myth#7: There Is No Risk in Sharing a Hookah Tip
- Myth#8: Smoking a Hookah Is “Cool”
- Myth#9 Hookah Smoke Tastes Delicious
- Myth#10 Quitting Hookah Is Easy
The invention of the hookah dates back to around 1,500 to 1,600 A.D. The hookah has been in use for over 500 years in various parts of the world. In ancient times, sharing the hookah was only for the men at celebrations in the royal palaces of the leaders in Turkey, India, Persia, and other parts of the Middle East. In contemporary times, the sharing of the hookah has become a popular social event amongst younger adults of both genders, in Europe and America.
Many hookah bars and lounges have sprung up in the USA, especially in the major metropolitan areas. There are literally hundreds of them in America and this number continues to grow. The ritualistic manner of sharing the hookah and the smoking ritual done as a group with friends encourages many young people to ignore the hookah health risks.
The Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports that between 22% and 40% of college students tried a hookah during 2012. In 2014, 23% of high school seniors tried the hookah. In both cases, these percentages are a substantial increase from the previous years.
Is Hookah Bad for You? *
The only thing safe to inhale is oxygen. Any type of smoke that a person inhales is bad for them, to one degree or another. The hookah health risks depend on what the smoking blend consists of, how the hookah is used, and how often a person smokes from a hookah.
Does Hookah Have Nicotine? *
Any smoking blend that includes tobacco has nicotine. There are herbal smoking blends for the hookah that do not contain nicotine. A lack of nicotine makes the smoking less addictive, but does not necessarily make the smoking safe. All smoking blends used for the hookah produce tar and carbon monoxide when smoked.
Nicotine is the chemical substance that causes the addiction to tobacco smoke. Nicotine is not solely responsible for the diseases caused by tobacco use. Tar, carbon monoxide, and the hundreds of other toxic chemicals inhaled during smoking tobacco products are what cause the serious diseases including lung cancer.
Hookah Myths and Hookah Health Risks *
Myth #1: The Hookah Water Cleans the Smoke *
WRONG! The water that the smoke goes through does not clean the smoke of harmful substances. The only thing the water does is remove large particulates (ash) from the smoke and cool the temperature of the smoke. Most of the dangerous chemicals mixed in the vapor of the smoke pass easily through the water. This includes toxic substances like benzene and toluene that are in tobacco smoke.
Myth#2: Nobody Gets Sick from Smoking a Hookah *
WRONG! The CDC notes that hookah smoking, just like cigarette smoking, contributes to many diseases, such as:
- Heart Disease
- Mouth Cancer
- Throat Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Stomach Cancer
- Other Respiratory Ailments
Myth#3: Hookah Smoking Is Safer than Cigarettes *
WRONG! The Mayo Clinic notes that hookah smokers actually may inhale more concentrated smoke than cigarette smokers do. The smoke passing through the water that cools it down is easier to inhale more deeply.
Because hookah sessions typically last for about an hour or more, with smoking continuing for the entire time, the amount of tobacco smoke inhaled far exceeds what an average person would inhale during the same period if smoking cigarettes.
The CDC estimates the amount of smoke inhaled by a person in a one-hour hookah session is 90,000 milliliters. The amount of smoke inhaled from a single cigarette is only 500 to 600 milliliters.
Because a person smoking a hookah takes very deep and long drags on the pipe, the amount of heavy metals and poisons inhaled is greater than what happens when smoking cigarettes. There are also the extra toxic chemicals and heavy metals contained in the smoke from the charcoal used to heat the tobacco to make the hookah smoke.
This means, on average, a hookah smoker inhales more arsenic, nickel, and lead that are poisons and cause cancer. Additionally, hookah smoke has up to thirty-six times more tar and fifteen times more carbon monoxide than found in cigarette smoke.
Myth#4: Hookah Smoking is Less Addictive than Smoking Cigarettes *
WRONG! Smoking a hookah, with a tobacco blend, is more addictive than smoking cigarettes. During a typical one-hour hookah session, a person smoking a hookah gets the same amount of nicotine exposure as if they smoked up to 100 or 200 cigarettes.
Myth#5: Hanging Out Without Puffing on the Hookah Is Safe *
WRONG! The air inside a hookah lounge fills with concentrated tobacco smoke. Even without taking a puff on the hookah itself, simply breathing in the contaminated air is enough to experience the negative effects of secondhand smoke. There is plenty of evidence that exposure to secondhand smoke is dangerous, especially for women who are pregnant. Hookah smoking and secondhand smoke may cause premature births and/or babies that are underweight when born.
Myth#6: Smoking a Non-Tobacco Herbal Blend Is Safe *
WRONG! Non-tobacco blends create as much tar and poisonous carbon monoxide as tobacco smoke, sometimes even more. Tar is a sticky substance that attaches to the cells in the lungs to block them from healthy operation. Smoking a non-tobacco, herbal blend may cause an allergic reaction, throat irritation, and respiratory troubles such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and pulmonary edema. Pulmonary edema is a life-threatening illness that causes the lungs to fill up with fluid.
Myth#7: There Is No Risk in Sharing a Hookah Tip *
WRONG! When each person does not use his or her own sanitary tip attached to the hookah tube while smoking, the sharing of the hookah can pass disease from one person to another, when the tip is not clean. Disease that easily passes from one person to another includes, the flu, colds, mononucleosis, and mouth infections including herpes.
Myth#8: Smoking a Hookah Is “Cool” *
WRONG! The same stigma that is associated with the definitely “uncool,” nasty habit of cigarette smoking that caused the smoking of cigarettes to seriously decline in the United States, also applies to smoking a hookah. There is nothing cool about it. Just imagine going into a darkened room and passing around the same cigarette to share amongst friends. How stupid is that? Well, this is essentially the same as sharing a hookah with each other. It is disgusting.
Myth#9 Hookah Smoke Tastes Delicious *
YES, because it is a trick. The flavored hookah blends are deceptions to make the nasty substance of tobacco have candy or fruit flavors. People mistakenly think that having such flavors make the hookah smoke safer, which is not true.
In 2009, the FDA banned the sale of flavored cigarettes in America because these candy and fruit flavors were causing more children to smoke. The FDA now needs to do the same with flavored hookah blends, which they probably will do in the near future. It is possible to make arsenic taste sweet, but it would still be a deadly poison. Tobacco smoke contains arsenic.
Myth#10 Quitting Hookah Is Easy *
WRONG! Smoking a hookah has psychological reasons that support it and creates a physical addiction like smoking cigarettes. Addiction to nicotine causes a craving for more. The pleasant social interactions associated with getting together with friends for a hookah party create a lot of peer pressure and a strong desire to be with those friends.
U.S. News & World Report says that hookah use is more likely to occur with college students and high school students that come from affluent families. Males use the hookah more than females, yet females are still very interesting in hookah parties. Young adults get addicted to tobacco use by smoking the hookah when they falsely believe it is safe. Quitting smoking of any kind is very difficult.
Withdrawals symptoms from nicotine addiction are severe and include:
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Greater Appetite
- Irritable Behavior
- Lack of Concentration
Using a hookah is just another bad habit masquerading as a fun, social event. Intelligent people know better than to ingest harmful substances that waste money on things that damage health. Hookah parties are a fad that we all could do without attending. They are a waste of time and money.
There is no need to do things that make a person have the risk of getting a terrible disease, just to hang out to have a good time with friends. This is why cigarette smoking has been going down amongst people of all ages. Paying for a poisonous substance, like tobacco, that makes a person die younger is just a bad idea. Using tobacco in any form is stupid. Inhaling the concentrated smoke from a hookah is just a way to increase the chances of getting sick. No one should destroy their life in such a way that causes their own suffering and early death.
The next time someone invites you to go to a hookah lounge, tell him or her you prefer to go to an oxygen bar instead. That is a much better idea.