Hookah smoking: is it safer than cigarettes? – mayo clinic

Hookah smoking is not safer than cigarette smoking.

Also known as narghile, shisha and goza, a hookah is a water pipe with a smoke chamber, a bowl, a pipe and a hose. Specially made tobacco is heated, and the smoke passes through water and is then drawn through a rubber hose to a mouthpiece.

The tobacco is no less toxic in a hookah pipe, and the water in the hookah does not filter out the toxic ingredients in the tobacco smoke. Hookah smokers may actually inhale more tobacco smoke than cigarette smokers do because of the large volume of smoke they inhale in one smoking session, which can last as long as 60 minutes.

While research about hookah smoking is still emerging, evidence shows that it poses many dangers

  • Hookah smoke contains high levels of toxic compounds, including tar, carbon monoxide, heavy metals and cancer causing chemicals (carcinogens). In fact, hookah smokers are exposed to more carbon monoxide and smoke than are cigarette smokers.
  • As with cigarette smoking, hookah smoking is linked to lung and oral cancers, heart disease, and other serious illnesses.
  • Hookah smoking delivers about the same amount of nicotine as cigarette smoking, possibly leading to tobacco dependence.
  • Hookah smoke poses dangers associated with secondhand smoke.
  • Hookah smoking by pregnant women can result in low birth weight babies.
  • Hookah pipes used in hookah bars and cafes may not be cleaned properly, risking the spread of infectious diseases.

Why people smoke

Why People Smoke

Most people start smoking when they are in their teens and are addicted by the time they reach adulthood. Some have tried to quit but have returned to cigarettes because smoking is such a strong addiction. It is a habit that is very difficult to break. There are many different reasons why people smoke.

Three of the main reasons that young people smoke are to look mature, to be like their friends, and to experiment. Since teens see older people all around them smoking, especially their parents and relatives, they smoke to act older. If their friends or peers smoke, they may feel pressured into doing the same to be accepted. The last reason is the excitement of experimenting with something that is forbidden. In Massachusetts it is against the law for anyone under 18 years old to smoke. Usually parents do not allow their under age teens to smoke. Therefore, smoking becomes very attractive. It is exciting to get cigarettes and sneak away to smoke without being caught.

Adults smoke for other reasons. They may have a lot of stress and pressures because of economic and personal problems. They may be unemployed or working but not making enough money to take care of themselves and their families. They may be homeless, or they may be dealing with alcohol or cocaine/heroin addictions. Some may be in bad marriages or relationships in which there is physical and/or verbal abuse. All these people may smoke to feel relaxed or to give them energy while going through a hard time.

Whether young or old, some people smoke to control their weight. Smokers, on the average, weigh seven pounds less than non smokers. Smoking reduces a person’s appetite. It lessens his/her sense of taste and smell. This could be why ex smokers gain weight after quitting cigarettes. Food tastes and smells so much better.

Finally, there are people who say they love to smoke. Smoking gives them pleasure. It just makes them feel good.

next section >>