Hookah smoking has become a rage in young people. It’s the ‘in’ thing to do, and many clubs and pubs offer hookahs to their young patrons. Hookah has also caught on as the best alternative to smoking, and viewed as being harmless; but this is far from the truth. According to latest studies and surveys, hookah smoking is worse than cigarettes. This will come as a surprise to many, as we hardly ever see warnings against hookah and other cigarette alternatives like the e-cigarette. Take a look at why hookah and e-cigarettes are actually as harmful as cigarette smoking:
What is a hookah?
For those who might not know what a hookah is, a brief introduction – it is a unit that consists of a rubber hose, a bowl containing water, a pipe and a smoke chamber. It’s also known as shisha, goza, hubbly-bubbly or narghile. The tobacco for hookah is specially made for it. The tobacco is heated and the smoke is passed through the water. This smoke is then inhaled through the rubber pipe with the help of the pipe at the end of it.
Hookah is perceived to be safer than cigarettes, but hookah smoking is worse than cigarettes.
Why is hookah smoking is worse than cigarettes
The tobacco used in hookah is as toxic as cigarette tobacco. The water in hookahs does not act as a filtering agent, to filter the toxic ingredients out from the tobacco. In fact, when we look at regular smoking vs. hookah, hookah smokers actually inhale more smoke than cigarette smoker. This is because, one hookah smoking session, which usually lasts for about an hour, leads to smokers inhaling much more quantity of tobacco smoke at one go, than regular cigarette smokers.
According to emerging research, smoking the hookah has many health risks:
- The smoke from hookahs contains a high amount of toxic chemicals, such as tar, heavy metals, carbon monoxide, and other carcinogens (cancer causing compounds). Studies show that hookah smokers are exposed to more carbon monoxide as well as smoke than cigarette smokers are. This is why hookah smoking is worse than cigarettes, and should not be treated as a bit of ‘harmless fun’.
- Hookah smoking has been linked to oral and lung cancer, heart diseases and a host of other illnesses. These illnesses are some of the worst effects of smoking hookah.
- If you thought that you were inhaling less nicotine while smoking hookah, you couldn’t be more wrong. Hookah smoking actually delivers the same quantity of nicotine to the body as regular smoking. So while comparing regular smoking vs. hookah, you have to keep this very important factor in mind.
- Everyone knows that passive smoking is bad for health. However, inhaling secondhand smoke from the hookah is as bad as passive smoking.
- If pregnant women smoke hookah, (under the misconception that it is not as harmful as regular smoking), it can lead to the reduced weight of their babies, which is another bad effects of smoking hookah.
- Hookah smokers find it ‘cool’ and stylish, but they are quite unaware that the tobacco mix used in hookahs is as addictive as other kinds of smoking.
- Hookah smokers usually share the hookah, which brings to mind the infinite number of germs (along with the good time) that they are sharing! If you have ever tried a hookah and then mysteriously fallen ill, it could be that the germs were passed on to you through the hookah.
Comparing e-cigarettes and hookah smoking – which is better
Smoking e-cigarettes or rather, ‘vaping’ is thought to be the best alternative to regular smoking. It’s thought to be healthier, as e-cigarettes were designed to help smokers quit smoking eventually. Vaping is supposed to outsell regular cigarettes by the year 2023.
Some myths regarding e-cigarettes are:
E-cigarette vapor is pure
While it is true that e-cigarettes do not contain many harmful chemicals present in regular cigarettes, they do contain the most harmful chemical – nicotine that is the cause of most damage to health. Some studies have found that e-cigarettes release some chemicals when smoked, which are not released by traditional cigarettes or by the hookah. Thus, hookah vs e-cigarette is not a positive comparison for e-cigarettes; they’re both not good for health.
They are safer
E-cigarettes have some hidden hazards. It requires a lot of pressure to smoke them, and there have been many reported instances of the devices exploding, causing serious harm to the smoker. These battery operated cigarettes use liquid nicotine, which is quite poisonous – it can cause death if swallowed by mistake; or, if it comes into contact directly with the body. While smoking an e-cigarette, you have to be very careful, as overfilling the cigarette’s cartridge, inhaling hard or even improper handling can cause the liquid nicotine to leak. This will let the liquid get accidentally into the mouth, and become fatal.
Thus just as hookah smoking is worse than cigarettes, smoking e-cigarettes too might be worse for health than regular cigarettes.
Vaping does not produce second hand smoke
Don’t be fooled – e-cigarettes have the potential to harm people nearby. The exposure to toxins and nicotine from the vapor of e-cigarettes may be less, but still it is quite dangerous. It’s worse because a person usually ‘vape’ in places you’re not allowed to smoke. So, though hookah smoking is worse than cigarettes, e-cigarette too is not a harmless pastime as it is often thought.
So whether you compare between hookah vs e-cigarette, and hookah vs regular cigarettes, anything which has nicotine in it is bad for health.
Children and e-cigarettes
Experts are concerned about the effect of e-cigarettes on children. They are available in many different flavors, such as key lime and chocolate, which appeal to young teens. This might lead to nicotine addiction, and they might go on to smoke regular cigarettes later on in life.
Hookah smoking is worse than cigarettes, as one hour of hookah smoking means you inhale the tar equivalent to 36 cigarettes, 70% more nicotine than a cigarette and 15 times more carbon monoxide. Deeply as well as frequently inhaling hookah smoke for an hour could be equal to smoking 30 – 400 cigarettes!
The best thing then is to quit smoking completely, as e-cigarettes, hookah and regular cigarettes are all bad for the body.