Is Hookah Bad For You? How Hookah Smoking Affects Your Health

Is Hookah Bad For You? How Hookah Smoking Affects Your Health

Hookah smoking is often mistaken as a healthier alternative to cigarette smoking, primarily due to its sweet smell and taste and the fact that people typically smoke hookah only occasionally.

But there’s no such thing as a healthy smoking option. Hookah is not healthier than cigarettes, and it carries risks similar to those of cigarette smoking including cancer, heart disease, and lung disease.

People have used hookahs for centuries in ancient Persia and India. Today, people often smoke a hookah as a group, at home or in cafes or lounges.

What Is Hookah?

A hookah is a water pipe that is used to smoke sweetened and flavored tobacco.
Other names people use for hookah are:

  • narghile
  • argileh
  • shisha
  • hubble-bubble
  • goza

The pipe is usually quite large and consists of a water chamber, a tobacco chamber, and one or more flexible tubes stemming from it that allow multiple people to inhale at the same time.

Hookah tobacco is often sweetened with molasses, fruit pulp, or honey, with additional flavors such as coconut, mint, or coffee. Flavorings sweeten the taste and aroma of tobacco, making it especially appealing to young people.

Aside from tobacco, It’s important to note that hookah can be used to smoke herbal shisha, marijuana, and hashish. Hookahs come in a wide range of sizes and it’s easy to hide small, 8-inch-tall models in dorm rooms, cars and bathrooms.

How the Hookah Works

The tobacco chamber in a hookah consists of a bowl containing burning charcoal that is placed on top of the flavored tobacco. Charcoal is separated from tobacco by perforated aluminum foil.

As the charcoal heats the tobacco below, smoke is created. When a person inhales through the stem (hose) of the hookah, the smoke is pulled through the water chamber, cooling it before it is inhaled into the lungs.

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The smoke is inhaled through a flexible hose that is passed from one user to the next.