Smoking hookah is more dangerous than tobacco smoking as it delivers about 25 times more tar than a cigarette.
People, and especially young people, love to share a hookah with their friends once in a while. We love to get around a small table sitting on a pillow on the carpet and feel the smoke flowing through our throats, with its vanilla or melon or apple flavour. We also tend to believe that since the smoke meets the water at some point on its way to our lungs, it is way less harmful than a cigarette that we smoke directly.
Researchers at the School of Medicine from the University of Pittsburgh are now proving how wrong we are. A meta-analysis conducted by a team of researchers reveals that hookah smoke contains a high amount of toxins.
The research published online in Public Health Reports journal has reviewed information from 542 scientific articles studying cigarettes and hookahs. Finally they found 17 studies containing relevant data which allowed them to estimate the toxins inhaled by smokers of hookahs and cigarettes.
Their final results show that a in a hookah session the users inhale an amount of smoke similar to that of 125 cigarettes. This means that the level of toxins is also highly increased. A hookah session delivers 25 times more tar than a cigarette, 2.5 times more nicotine and 10 times more carbon monoxide.
According to Brian A. Primack from the University of Pittsburgh and lead researcher in the study, their results ring an alarm bell over the dangers posed by hookah smoking while also saying that it should be monitored more closely. For example the recent Survey on Youth Risk Behavior included questions about cigarette smoking, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco and others but hookah smoking was left out.
However, Primack says that it’s not simple to compare hookah smoking with cigarette smoking since the smoking patterns of the two are very different. While a smoker might consume over 20 cigarettes every day, even frequent hookah smokers are only involving in only a few sessions per day. More than that, it is hard to estimate the amount of smoke inhaled by each individual if more persons participate in the smoking session.
However, researchers claim that hookah users should be warned that they might expose themselves to more toxins than they would imagine. As we can see, the saying that hookah are healthier than tobacco might only be an urban myth.
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