I don’t have exact numbers, but among our patients who gave up smoking are those who took up the hookah as a substitute, in hopes of enjoying tobacco in a less lethal form. Because waterpipes often use flavored tobacco (spiced chai, strawberry and cotton candy are apparently national favorites), and uses water in the pipe, it’s easy to think that a hookah exposes one to less tobacco and, therefore, lowers the risk of tobacco-related diseases. Truth is, that’s far from the truth.
Some Facts About Hookah Smoking:
- Up to 34% of 13-15-year-old and 20% of college students have smoked tobacco in a hookah.
- There is no regulation of the amount of tobacco delivered in a hookah. In other words, you have no idea how much nicotine you’re getting.
- There are no age restrictions to smoke at hookah cafes or to buy hookah paraphernalia.
- Research published in the Journal of the American Dental Association last October shows that hookah smoking is connected to oral and esophageal cancer, dry sockets, and gum disease.
- Other research connects hookah smoking to lung cancer and heart disease, similar to that of cigarette smoking.
- According to the World Health Organization, one waterpipe session exposes the smoker to the equivalent of 100 cigarettes. In one hookah session, an average smoker takes between 50 and 200 puffs over the course of an hour or so. A cigarette takes 5-7 minutes to smoke, in 40-75 puffs.
The Bottom Line:
Smoking with a waterpipe is not safer than smoking cigarettes. Now that you know, please share this information with friends and family members who are fond of hookah smoking. Tobacco is dangerous to your health regardless of the delivery method.