Hookah has been around for centuries, and so have the myths pertaining to its use.

To gain a further understanding of hookah, the myths behind its use, and how it compares to cigarettes, explore this informative brochure.

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.

hookah pipe Other Names for Hookah

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 Hookah

Myth: Water in the hookah filters the harmful chemicals from the smoke. Myth: Hookah is a healthy alternative to smoking cigarettes.

Hookah vs. Cigarettes

  One Cigarette Hookah
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.

Online Resources:

Telephone Resources:

Personal Support:

American Lung Association. (February 2007). An Emerging Deadly Trend: Waterpipe Tobacco Use. Retrieved February 8, 2011 from Tobacco Policy Trend Alert: http://slati.lungusa.org/reports/Trend%20Alert_Waterpipes.pdf
CDC. (October 29, 2010). Smoking & Tobacco Use: Hookahs. Retrieved February 8, 2011 from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/tobacco_industry/hookahs/
Daher, N., Saleh, R., Jaroudi, E., Sheheitli, H., Badr, T., Sepetdjian, E., et al. (2010). Comparison of carcinogen, carbon monoxide, and ultrafine particle emissions from narghile waterpipe and cigarette smoking: Sidestream smoke measurements and assessment of second-hand smoke emission factors. Atmospheric Environment , 44, 8-14.
Shihadeh, A., & Saleh, R. (2005). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, “tar”, and nicotine in the mainstream smoke aerosol of the narghile water pipe. Food and Chemical Toxicology , 43 (5), 655-661.
WHO. (2005). Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking: Health Effects, Research Needs and Recommended Actions by Regulators. Retrieved February 8, 2011 from WHO Study Group on Tobacco Product Regulation (TobReg): http://www.who.int/tobacco/global_interaction/tobreg/Waterpipe%20recommendation_Final.pdf