UT University Health Services

Hookah

Hookah is often promoted as being safer than cigarette smoking; however, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.

What is Hookah?

  • A hookah is a water pipe used to smoke flavored tobacco
  • Heated with charcoal, the smoke passes through water in the hookah before inhaled from a mouthpiece
  • Typically smoked in groups, the mouthpiece is passed from person-to-person
  • A hookah session typically lasts about 1 hour

The facts about Hookah:

  • Gram for gram, Hookah smoke contains more tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide than cigarette smoke
  • Besides increasing your risk of cancer, the nicotine in Hookah smoke can cause yellow teeth, wrinkles, and erectile dysfunction
  • Secondhand smoke from Hookah poses a risk for nonsmokers
  • An hour of Hookah smoking delivers as much carbon monoxide to the user as a pack of cigarettes
  • Sharing the hookah mouthpiece can spread many communicable diseases including hepatitis, tuberculosis and meningitis.
  • Irritation caused by the mouthpiece may give hookah users an even higher risk of cancers in the mouth than cigarette smokers

References:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Hookah fact sheet
  2. World Health Organization: WHO Study Group on Tobacco Product Regulation

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