Of late, smoking the hookah has gained cult status. No party or get together is complete without people gathering together and blowing rings of smoke in the air, like in the olden days. Offered at almost all clubs and various pubs, hookah is popular among the youngsters. Also known as shisha, hookah has its roots in history. However, modern day shisha is available in different flavors. It is commonly believed that hookah is less harmful than a cigarette. However, the truth is that hookah is as harmful as a cigarette.
According to the Monitoring the Future survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “nearly 23 percent of 12th-grade students in the United States had used hookahs in 2013, up from 17 percent in 2010. The rate was slightly higher among boys at 25 percent than girls at 21 percent in 2014.” Reporting on the same lines, the National Youth Tobacco Survey observed that hookah smoking doubled among the U.S. middle and high school students between 2013 to 2014.
Understanding hookah use
Unlike cigarette or pipes, hookahs are water pipes that are used to smoke tobacco. Hookah uses a specially made tobacco that needs to be heated. The smoke generated is then passed through water via a pipe and is drawn through a rubber hose towards a mouthpiece.
Many believe that the water reduces the effect of tobacco, making hookahs less harmful than cigarettes. However, according to studies, water has no impact on the tobacco and hence a hookah ends up delivering similar amounts of nicotine to the user just as a cigarette does.
Studies have further revealed that hookah smoke contains high levels of toxic compounds, including tar, carbon monoxide, heavy metals and cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens). Notably, hookah exposes one to more carbon monoxide than a cigarette. According to the above study by the World Health Organization (WHO), “an average cigarette smoker takes 8 to 12 puffs, and inhales about 0.5 to 0.6 liters of smoke over the span of five to seven minutes. A hookah smoker in comparison may take anywhere from 20 to 200 puffs with each puff equaling about one liter of smoke each. This means that one hookah smoking session can equal 40 to 400 cigarettes.”
Hazards of smoking hookah
Similar to cigars, cigarettes, pipes or other forms of tobacco consumption, hookah is also associated with lung cancer. Studies have revealed that the charcoal used to heat the tobacco produces smoke that contains high levels of carbon monoxide, metals and chemicals that cause cancer.
Excessive use of hookah also leads to other serious health issues such as heart diseases and can cause tobacco dependence. Besides dangers like secondhand smoking, infectious diseases due to sharing of the pipes are also linked with hookah smoking.
Road to recovery
Often people begin hookah smoking due to the notion that it is less harmful than cigarettes. Additionally, many youngsters are lured by the different flavors of tobacco which reduce or completely remove the hard taste of tobacco. However, as per the CDC, “hookah smoke is ‘at least as toxic as cigarette smoke,’ as the smoke contains the same toxic chemicals and a comparable level of nicotine.” Hence, many people tend to develop an addiction for hookah, like they do for cigarettes.
Recovery from such an addiction is possible with a comprehensive detox program that can help remove the harmful toxins accumulated in the body due to years of smoking hookah. If you or your loved one is seeking detox treatment to quit addiction to smoking, you may get in touch with the California Detox Helpline to know about the best rapid detox centers in California. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-780-2495 or chat online to gain information on various detox and rehab centers in California. Our representatives can connect you to the best detox centers in California.