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I AM in Control.org Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality
Sep 5

What the Hookah?

Posted By iamincontrol | September 5, 2013

Hookah
By Bobbie Jo

Hookah? How do you even pronounce it? What is it? Hookahs (hook·ah) are water pipes used to smoke tobacco in a variety of flavors. Hookahs have been used in the Middle East for centuries, but have become very popular in the United States recently. There is a myth that it is safe to smoke hookah because a person uses a water pipe and the water “cleans” out the harmful chemicals. FALSE! A person smoking hookah is breathing in the same harmful chemicals as a cigarette smoker, but at a much greater rate because of the higher rate of toxins. In addition the charcoal used to heat tobacco in the hookah increases the health risks by producing high levels of carbon monoxide, metals, and cancer-causing chemicals.

Hookah smokers have the same health risks as cigarette users such as: oral cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer, cancer of the esophagus, reduced lung function and decreased fertility. Also, because there is nicotine in hookah, there is the potential for addiction. The mouthpiece of the hookah pipe is shared between multiple users which increases the risk for herpes, influenza and other infectious diseases.

We know secondhand smoke from cigarettes is deadly, but the same is true for hookah. Not only is the person breathing in the smoke from the tobacco, but also from the heating source, which is typically charcoal. Whether it’s cigarettes, chew or hookah, tobacco is tobacco and it’s dangerous. According to the American Lung Association, tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in the United States, killing an estimated 438,000 people in this country and almost 5 million worldwide every year.

You are in control of staying tobacco free.