Hookah is a water pipe that is used to smoke tobacco. It has a bowl at the top for heating the tobacco. When the tobacco is heated in this bowl, the smoke is filtered through the water at the base. This cools the smoke.
In the past couple of years, I’ve seen an increasing number of people becoming fan of it. Shockingly, I think most people consider it safe and just a bit of harmless fun. Even though at some Indian cities hookah bars are banned, shisha is selling openly even on major ecommerce websites. Flipkart even has a whole category for it!
A few months ago, I heard about some teenagers who had become addicted to it. I believe that anything that causes addiction can’t be harmless. So I did a bit of googling and was shocked to read that hookah is actually even more harmful than cigarettes. Here’s what I found out:
Smoke is smoke:
Most people think that because the hookah smoke is filtered through water, the harmful chemicals get filtered out. But that is not true. The cancer-causing chemicals still remain in the smoke and can damage the heart and lungs, just like cigarettes. The smoke just feels less irritating to lungs because it has been cooled down by water. But it still contains carcinogens and is as harmful.
Herbal or fruity, doesn’t matter:
Some people who know that it is harmful go for herbal ‘shisha’ thinking it to be less harmful. But even that exposes the smoker to a lot of tar and carcinogens. Some actually believe that since the shisha contains fruits or is soaked in molasses or honey, it is healthy. Well, it is not. No matter what gets mixed into it, the chemicals remain and are harmful.
Hookah vs. cigarettes:
Some people consider hookah safer than cigarettes because they believe in the lie that it has no nicotine. But it does have nicotine. Worse, hookah sessions are usually long. And an hour long session can expose the smoker to harmful chemicals of over a hundred cigarettes!
Compared to a single cigarette, hookah smoke has higher levels of arsenic, lead, and nickel. It has 36 times more tar and 15 times more carbon monoxide. Smoking at public hookah places can also expose the smoker to various kinds of germs through the unclean mouthpiece.
Not all fun is good fun:
So you still think a hookah is not harmful? Well, think again! And remember, following a fad or doing something dangerous may look cool. But being able to resist a temptation is far more cooler.
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