Is Hookah Bad For You?
Hookahs are a very popular smoking method worldwide and have many wondering: is a hookah bad for you? First of all, Hookahs are an Eastern smoking pipe where a long tube runs through water, cooling the smoke before it is inhaled. For this reason, they are often called water pipes.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, hookahs are a growing phenomenon among youth in the United States and have been popular in Eastern culture for at least 400 years. Hookahs are often artistically crafted and can easily and legally be bought all over the world. They are most often filled with sweetened and flavored tobacco, which can leave the user with a pleasant taste. These benefits have made the pipes very popular, even leading to an increase in Hookah bars where every patron can sip on a hookah along with their drink.
Many Hookah smokers today defend its use and claim that the device is a healthy alternative to smoking cigarettes. They argue that there are not enough studies to prove any harmful effects of hookah use and that it can even give them a high of sorts while using legal tobacco. While it is true that using packaged tobacco in a hookah eliminates several of the added chemicals found in cigarettes, this does not mean it is completely void of any health risks.
The Center for Disease Control has compiled twelve possible side effects associated with hookah use. The most important are nicotine addiction and an increased risk for lung cancer. In fact they have gone as far as to say that hookah increases the risk of lung cancer as much as smoking cigarettes. Despite the fact that the smoke passes through water, it still contains toxic compounds such as carbon monoxide, heavy metals, and other cancer causing substances.
The World Health Organization agrees with the Center for Disease Control, claiming that the water does not eliminate several harmful compounds in the smoke. However, they also add that there is a great need for more research, given the millions of hookah users worldwide. Due to the surprising lack of research, many users will continue to argue that there needs to be definitive proof that hookahs cause cancer before they will quit. For now, each individual will have to decide for themselves whether hookah are worth the risk or not.