Hookah has been around for centuries, and so have the myths pertaining to its use.
The History of Hookah
The first hookah is believed to have been created in India during the mid to late 1500s (WHO, 2005). Hookahs are used to smoke specially made tobacco that comes in a variety of flavors and fragrances.
Other Names for Hookah
- Water Pipe
A Safe Social Trend?
The social nature of hookah puts users and bystanders at an increased risk for negative health effects.
Germs are Gross! The same mouthpiece is often shared by everyone in the group. Hookahs also have intricate parts that are hard to clean and sterilize. As a result, people who smoke hookah are at an increased risk for diseases like the common cold and influenza.
Ahhh… Second-hand Smoke! The second-hand smoke from a hookah contains 4x the carcinogenic PAHs and 30x the carbon monoxide of a single cigarette. In fact, a typical one-hour hookah session generates as much second-hand smoke as 2-10 cigarette smokers (Daher, et al., 2010).
Health Effects of HookahMyth: Water in the hookah filters the harmful chemicals from the smoke.
- Busted: According to the CDC, analysis of hookah smoke, after it has passed through the water, shows high levels of toxic compounds that are known to cause lung, bladder, and oral cancers.
- Busted: The charcoal used to heat the tobacco increases exposure to carbon monoxide, heavy metals, and cancer-causing chemicals (CDC, 2010). The chemicals in hookah smoke have also been shown to clog arteries and cause heart disease.
Hookah vs. Cigarettes
|Average Time Smoking||5 - 7 minutes||56 minutes|
|Average Number of Puffs||8 - 12||171 puffs|
|Exposure to Tar||11.2 mg||802 mg (or 70 cigarettes)|
|Exposure to Carbon Monoxide||12.6 mg||145 mg (or 12 cigarettes)|
|Average Volume of Smoke Inhaled||0.36 L - 0.84 L||90 L (or 107 - 250 cigarettes)|
|Nicotine Exposure||0.77 mg||2.94 mg (or 4 cigarettes)|
Tobacco Cessation Opportunities
If you, a friend, or a family member, currently use tobacco in any form and would like help quitting there are many options to help you achieve a tobacco free lifestyle.
- smokefree.gov (sponsored by NCI, NIH, USDHHS, and USA.gov)
- American Lung Association: https://www.lung.org
- Military personnel and their families: http://www.ucanquit2.org
- Guide to Quitting Smoking - The American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/Healthy/StayAwayfromTobacco/GuidetoQuittingSmoking
- ProjectKnow - 5 Popular Ways to Quit Smoking: http://www.projectknow.com/5-popular-ways-to-quit-smoking-and-how-well-they-work
Smoking cessation counselors from the National Cancer Institute provide smoking cessation counseling and are available to answer smoking-related questions in English or Spanish, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
This toll-free telephone number connects you to counseling and information about quitting smoking in your state. 800-ACS-2345 - The American Cancer Society’s Quitline.
- Please contact your local health department or primary care provider to see what options are available in your community