Hookah is basically the water pipe that uses charcoal to offer highly-addictive nicotine to the smokers and it is usually flavored. But, before you start smoking hookah, it is essential for you to know what the health risks of hookah are and the possible side effects of hookah smoking. The health effects associated with it are often underestimated and it is also important to know that hookah smoking is as harmful as cigarette smoking.
Additionally, the passing of mouthpiece from one person to another can spread infection and babies born to a hookah smoker are at great risk of having respiratory issues and low birth weight.
How Bad is Hookah for You?
The harmful chemicals produced by the charcoal used in the hookah can make the hookah smoke very harmful for your health. The smoke can be more lethal at times compared to cigarette smoking. The level of toxins also increase with the passage of time. So, the more smoke you inhale from hookah the more harmful agents you introduce to your body. Some of the toxins are carbon monoxide, metal and others. Hence, the health risks of hookah usually increase with prolonged use.
Health Risks of Hookah
Some of the health risks of hookah smoking that are described below.
Charcoal adds more harmful agents in the smoke which includes tar, carbon monoxide and a variety of other chemicals, which increase the risk of cancer making it one of the most important health risks of hookah smoking. The tobacco that is used in the hookahs is different from the one that is used in traditional cigarettes and it is not good for your health in any way. They contain toxic chemicals and substances that can cause lung, oral and bladder cancer. Even if the smoke passes through the water it contains high levels of toxins including cancer causing chemicals, heavy metals and carbon monoxide.
The smoke released from the hookah can cause oral cancers because of the irritation that is caused in the wind pipe and mouth. But, in cigarette and cigars this threats is less because the frequency of smoking is much continuous and the inhalation of the smoke is for short duration only. The health risks of oral cancers are high in hookah because of the higher frequency of smoking and for longer duration.
Heart diseases are other health risks of hookah smoking. The tobacco used in hookah releases smoke full of tar that can block the arteries and also disrupt the flow of blood and oxygen to the body parts. This increases the health risks of various cardiac problems including high blood pressure, problems in blood circulation and also increases the risk of strokes.
The hookah pipes used in cafes and bars may not be hygienic and cleaned properly, thereby increasing the chance of spreading infectious diseases to hookah smokers. Some of the infectious diseases include helicobacter, aspergillus, tuberculosis and more. It is found that hookah smokers usually share the single mouthpiece while smoking. Thus infections can also spread from sharing the pipe or mouthpiece with other partners who have the infections. This is another health risks of hookah, where smokers can easily spread infections in the group.
Low Birth Weight Babies with Pregnant Women
Women who smoke hookah are at risk of delivering low birth weight babies. The child delivered by a hookah smoker can be underweight and may also have breathing issues at birth. Babies born to women who smoke at least 1-2 pipes or hookah during pregnancy may deliver lower birth weight babies. Also these babies may experience the health risks of hookah as they are at greater risk of developing respiratory problems early in their lives.
Periodontal Disease or Gum Diseases
Damage to the gums and gum diseases are also one of the health risks of hookah. It is found that the hookah smokers usually have high level of nicotine in their saliva blood plasma and urine, which can damage the periodontal tissues and cause gum diseases and lead to bleeding gums in some people.
Danger of Secondhand Smoke
Apart from health risks of hookah to smokers, others who are exposed to the smoke emitted by hookah are also at risk of health hazards. The secondhand smoke released from a hookah poses a serious risk for non-smokers because the smoke is not only produced from the tobacco used in the hookah but also from charcoal used to heat up the tobacco.
The health risks of hookah also include nicotine addiction, which makes it no different from traditional cigarette. Hookah is considered to deliver almost the same amount of nicotine as traditional cigarette and hence it can lead to nicotine addiction in some people.
Smoking hookah for recreation, hobby, bonding session or at a social event is personal choice. But the health risks of hookah and the side effects associated with it can't be overlooked. Apart from all these aforementioned side effects of hookah, there may be other effects and risks of smoking hookah. Some people may also experience sexual impotence and wrinkled skin with regular use of hookah, which could be just another addition to health risks of hookah.