Myth Buster-Hookah

Posted by Puneet Murthika on Wed, Dec 5, 2012  
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A know myth to all is that Hookah smoking is no safer than cigarette smoking.


Hookah (hukkā or huqqah) whose origins come from somewhere in the transition point between India and Persia is a water pipe attached to a smoke chamber with a hose. Flavoured tobacco called Mu‘assel is heated, and the smoke passes through water and is then drawn through a rubber hose to a mouthpiece and from there into the mouth and lungs.


So here is the MYTH BUSTER- No, the tobacco used in the hookah is no less toxic than in a cigarette and no, the water in the hookah does not filter out the toxic in the tobacco smoke(it filters out less than 5 per cent of the nicotine). In fact as a normal hookah lasts for a good one hour, hookah smokers may actually inhale more tobacco smoke than cigarette smokers.


Have you ever wondered what all is present in that single puff of hookah you inhale oh so leisurely? Other than your nicotine smoke, a hookah puff contains tar, heavy metals, and cancer-causing chemicals, not to mention the tobacco in hookahs is heated with charcoal, giving rise to dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide.


Several studies have shown that smoking a hookah and cigarette can lead to several similar kinds of diseases such as lung, oral and bladder cancer, clogged arteries, heart disease and problems during pregnancy. Because a hookah session can last for a better part of an hour, one smoke session can be the equivalent to smoking 100 cigarettes so that means one hookah session is equal to smoking 100 cigarettes in ONE hour.


Now if you think smoking hookah in groups wouldn’t entitle you to smoking 100 cigarettes in an hour, well here are the facts. Based on a study published in the Current Science Journal in 2009, smoking a hookah at a rate of two 10-second puffs per minute for a good 45 to 60 minutes may lead to inhaling 10%-to-50% of nicotine. Not to mention, hoses attached to the pipe are passed from one smoker to the other; sharing of hoses without a filter may thus lead to tuberculosis, herpes and other infections.


So remember to think wisely the next time you and your peeps decide to hit a hookah bar, remember there are no redo’s in life.


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