Hookah smokers inhale toxic chemicals that may harm the heart, says report

Hookah when smoked impacts heart rate and blood pressure

Hookah when smoked impacts heart rate and blood pressure

"There is a general perception that maybe it's less harmful [but that] is not borne out by the scientific literature, which says that it is equivalent or even more harmful than tobacco smoking for the same duration of exposure", Bhatnagar said, adding that people who smoke hookahs are at risk of getting addicted and transitioning to use of other tobacco products.

The statement warned of mounting evidence linking chronic hookah smoke exposure to increased cardiovascular risk.

It is also because most of the tobacco marketed to hookah users does not carry a health warning, leading to the misperception that it is not harmful, the researchers said.

"Hookah is often perceived as being less harmful than smoking cigarettes, but this is not a reduced harm product", writing committee chairman Aruni Bhatnagar, PhD, of the University of Louisville, told MedPage Today.

Currently, there is a considerable misperception among hookah users that this method of tobacco use is harmless. Pipe designs vary, but the pipes typically consist of a bowl that holds tobacco, a body, a water base, and a hose or multiple hoses attached to mouthpieces. Hookah tobacco is usually a combination of dried fruit, flavored tobacco and substances to keep the tobacco moist.

A meta-analysis of water pipe users from four countries found that, on average, daily hookah use produced a 24-hour urinary cotinine level of 0.783 mg/mL, the same as delivered by smoking 10 cigarettes. "These techniques include educating the smoker about the health consequences of water pipe use, increasing motivation to quit by reviewing the pros and cons of smoking and quitting, setting and preparing for the quit day, and providing coping assistance to prevent relapse", they write, noting that there are now no data on the effectiveness of pharmacological therapies in this population.

Hookah pipes deliver particulate matter with diameters ranging from 0.01 to 0.2 microns, with a median of 0.04 to 0.05 microns.

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During one hookah session, many liters of smoke filled with large quantities of the pollutant particulate matter are inhaled at higher concentrations than cigarettes, the report says.

And in the 2016 Monitoring the Future survey, 13% of 12th graders reported water pipe use over the previous year.

Smoking tobacco in waterpipes or hookah, more commonly known as hookahs, results in inhaling toxic chemicals. Young adults account for 55 percent of hookah smokers nationwide. The sweetness of the flavours masks the harshness of smoke that makes it easier to continue smoking hookahs.

People who look to hookah as a safer alternative to cigarettes may be disappointed by recent findings about the popular inhalant.

A survey of United Kingdom students between 2011 and 2012 showed that hookah was more than twice as popular as cigarette smoking for this group. "This is an important first step.to be able to understand the extent of hookah use and its potential harm, and then I think the next step would be to develop specific policy recommendations on how we would as a society grapple with this form of tobacco use and addiction".

"Hookah smoking is still tobacco smoking", said Dr. Mohammed Jawad, a research postgraduate at the Imperial College London.

Healthcare professionals are encouraged to ask about hookah use and provide counseling and support to help patients quit.

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