Is smoking tobacco with a hookah safer than smoking cigarettes?

Smoking tobacco with a hookah is not safer than smoking cigarettes. When using a hookah pipe, the smoker inhales more smoke than from a cigarette. Hookah smoke has many toxic compounds and exposes the smoker to more carbon monoxide than cigarettes do. Hookahs also produce more secondhand smoke.

Hookah smoking is usually a social event in which smokers talk as they pass the pipe around. It’s thought of as a safer alternative to cigarettes because the percentage of tobacco in the product smoked is low and people think the water filters out the toxins. This is false. The water does not filter out many of the toxins. In fact, hookah smoke contains more toxins such as nicotine, carbon monoxide, tar, heavy metals, and other hazardous substances than cigarette smoke does. And users breathe in secondhand smoke, as well as toxins released from the heat sources used to burn hookah tobacco. It has been suggested that in a typical one-hour hookah smoking session, users may breathe in 100 to 200 times the amount of smoke, nine times the amount of carbon dioxide, and nearly twice the amount of nicotine they would get from one cigarette.
Elissa Gartenderg, DO
Family Medicine
Smoking Hookah is not safe. Besides delivering elevated levels of addictive nicotine with each inhalation (compared to cigarettes), other toxins and potential infections from the tubing can be inhaled. Sharing the Hookah can transmit potential infections such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, HIV, bacteria causing pneumonia and basic cold and flu viruses.
Smoking tobacco with a hookah (water pipe) is more harmful than smoking cigarettes. Contrary to what many people believe, the hookah doesn't filter out harmful substances. What's more, hookah users often inhale far more smoke than cigarette smokers do. For better health, get un-hooked from the hookah.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.