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Hookah Smoking: Not So Harmless

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by Brad Lamm, CIP

Often considered a low risk and healthy alternative to smoking cigarettes, Hookah smoking is a common social gathering. There are some major misconceptions about the health risks or lack thereof in Hookah smoking, and partaking in it even just one night can illicit health detriments.

Hookah smoking is indeed bad for you. According to Mayo Clinic, tobacco smoke is not less toxic in the hookah pipe then it is in cigarettes. Do to the lack of filtration by the water you may actually inhale more tobacco from Hookah smoke. Hookah sessions can last around “60 minutes.” Clearly smoking a regular cigarette does not take as long. The fact that Hookah smokers inhale more tobacco with sessions that last longer makes it easy to see how health ramifications can add up with its usage.

Hookah smoking can increase your risk of diseases such as lung cancer, oral cancer, and heart disease. It can still lead to tobacco dependence. Using first hand can equal the dangers of secondhand smoke, and usage by pregnant mothers can lead to lower weight in newborn babies.” These are just the facts of regular usage.

Of course, not everyone who uses it uses it regularly. You may ask, what about the people who just enjoy an occasional Saturday night? According to the Huffington Post, “Just one evening of hookah smoking could make nicotine urine levels spike by more than 70 times, and also result in the increase of cancer-causing agents, according to the study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.” Just a night’s usage can have negative effects down the line.

Obviously things done in moderation are less harmful than when actively doing on a regular basis. As an addict and someone who works in treatments for the disease of addiction, I can vouch that moderation isn’t an option for everyone. However for the majority of the population that can indulge with moderation, it is still important to know the full health risks of the activities we partake in. Hookah smoking is bad for you, and can be just as unhealthy if not more than regular smoking. Once in awhile is probably not gonna kill you, but you would be better served finding other means of social entertainment. Over the course of a lifetime an unhealthy Saturday night activity here or there can catch up to you. Every activity has a price, and sometimes the least of which is financial.

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