You may have heard that smoking hookah is better for you than smoking cigarettes. Turns out, it’s all in how you define “better.” A recent study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention indicates that smoking hookah, or water pipes, may be more dangerous than originally thought.
Hookahs most often consist of a head connected to a water jar with a hose attached and a mouthpiece. Flavored tobacco is placed below burning charcoal in the head, and the resultant vapor is cooled then smoked. In the United States, Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, studies indicate a significant increase in hookah smoking. This increase is especially evident in younger people. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 teens smoke hookah, and as many as 40 percent of U.S. college students report using a water pipe.
This increase is likely due to the popularly held belief that hookah are less harmful than cigarettes. However, the study results show otherwise.