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Hookah Hell

By on August 13, 2016

Have you heard about the latest social craze among millennials, Hookah bars? Maybe you’ve been to one and enjoyed a hookah yourself. But have you considered the health risks associated with the water pipes used to smoke flavored tobacco?

Hookah smoke contains many of the same harmful toxins as cigarette smoke and has been associated with lung cancer, respiratory illness, low birth weight, and periodontal disease.

Cancer Risks & Hookah Smoke

  • The charcoal used to heat tobacco in the hookah increases the health risks by producing smoke that contains high levels of carbon monoxide, metals, and cancer-causing chemicals.
  • A typical 1-hour-long hookah smoking session involves 200 puffs, while an average cigarette is 20 puffs. The volume of smoke inhaled during a typical hookah session is about 90,000 milliliters, compared with 500 to 600 milliliters inhaled when smoking a cigarette.
  • Using a hookah to smoke tobacco poses a serious potential health hazard to smokers and others exposed to the emitted smoke.

Hookah tobacco and smoke contain many toxic agents that can cause clogged arteries and heart disease. Not to mention that infections may be passed from one person to another by sharing a hookah. Think herpes!

And babies born to women who smoked water pipes every day while pregnant weigh less at birth (at least 3½ ounces less) than babies born to nonsmokers.

Know there are many new forms of electronic hookah smoking, including steam stones and hookah pens. Much of these products are battery powered and turn liquid containing nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals into a vapor, which is inhaled.

Very little information is currently available on the health risks of electronic tobacco products. Talk to your doctor about any use of tobacco products.


Content provided by the American Lung Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.