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Is Hookah Really Worse Than Cigarettes?

By Rheyanne Weaver HERWriter
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After hearing several people telling me that hookah is "ten times worse than smoking cigarettes," I decided to do some research and find some past articles and studies on hookah and its health risks as compared to smoking cigarettes.

I personally smoke hookah a couple times a month but try to limit this habit, as it is still flavored tobacco and not the best hobby. However, it does taste decent and is fun to do with friends, as well as relaxing.

Anyway, I found an old HealthDay article from Jan. 3, 2008 about hookah and cigarette smoking. According to the article, hookah has the same amount of carbon monoxide as a pack of cigarettes. However, it only looks at this toxic gas and not other health risks associated with hookah or cigarettes. So cigarettes could still be worse in other areas, like causing lung cancer.

In an older study by the World Health Organization in 2005, it was said that hookah is dangerous because smokers tend to be exposed longer to more smoke, as opposed to cigarette smokers.

"The waterpipe smoker may therefore inhale as much smoke during one session as a cigarette smoker would inhale consuming 100 or more cigarettes," the study said.

This is assuming that cigarette smokers only smoke from five to seven minutes long and hookah smokers only smoke from 20 to 80 minutes. Of course, longer smoking times mean more smoke is inhaled, which contains nicotine. This can cause addiction.

Basically, if hookah smokers limit their sessions and take from 8 to 12 puffs (like average cigarette smokers) instead of 50 to 200 puffs (like average hookah smokers), as well as limiting the amount of smoke inhaled, then there won't be as much of an issue.

It was also noted in another study found on the WHO Web site that physician-diagnosed chronic respiratory disease was found at a much higher rate in mixed (cigarette and hookah) smokers and waterpipe (hookah) smokers. Mixed smokers also showed more symptoms of chronic bronchitis (41.9%) than cigarette smokers (37%). Participants were only Lebanese people. However, it was noted that the difference between waterpipe and cigarette smokers was not "statistically significant."

Add a Comment16 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Walk into a hookah bar...You smell a light scent of flavoring and it is not disturbing at all...keep in mind this is a bar in which countless people let off steam.
Walk into a house hold where one person smokes...You can barely breathe, the smell and scent is disgusting...
Now this logic may seem worthless but cigarettes are stronger things. I have a friend who smoked cigs for a couple months (a pack every two days and ran track at the same time...he couldn't keep up. He quit, took up hookah (4-5 times a week) and has smoked it for a couple years and he says its not hurting his stamina at all...Call me crazy but I am sure cigs are worse.

January 24, 2013 - 1:16am
EmpowHER Guest

when smoking cigarettes the smoke is far more condensed than smoking shisha... the smoke comes from the end of the cigarette into the mouth and then into the lungs. shisha smoke travels through the head, down the pipe, into the water (bubbles around) through the hose, into your mouth and finally your lungs. Through all these stages the smoke is diluted with air and is far less concentrated than cigarette smoke. This is why these studies conclude that more smoke is inhaled when smoking shisha, when it is clearly not true. The smoke is also cooled, thus causing less damage to your throat, tongue, lungs, eyes, etc.

If you pay attention to the amount of tobacco that is placed in a shisha head compared to a cigarette, it is practically the same. So how can it be equivalent to smoking 200 cigarettes??? Sheer mass proves otherwise. Not to mention the fact that cigarette tobacco is finely cut to fit as much tobacco as possible into each cigarette. Shisha tobacco is rough cut (if that) and is saturated in flavor and moisture.

This is simple logic.

August 3, 2012 - 1:13am
EmpowHER Guest

You people are idiots who will die of either heart disease or one of a myriad of chronic and fatal lung disorders. It won't be a pretty death either. You will whither away and in the end as you gasp for another second of life as your lungs burn, you will sell your children for even another moment.

It's tobacco you morons! It's 5 times more concentrated than cigarette smoke with much longer exposure times. Yes, it does contain nicotine and is addictive. Don't listen to the Mayo clinic or your doctor though, some clown with a blog who is trying to sell you a freaking water bong is far more enlightened I'm sure.

Personally I don't care if you idiots go off and kill yourselves but the problem is that you likely can't even afford health insurance and somehow I'll be paying for your idiocy. You don't even have the decency or courage to off yourself before you spread your flawed genes on to further infect the gene pool.

April 4, 2012 - 6:49am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

lol i love your logic , i must say i agree with you

October 7, 2012 - 7:09am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

you sound like a great guy.

August 3, 2012 - 5:24am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I've smoked hookah for months straight and stopped with literally no problems at all so personally I don't think its super additive. Also the thousands of chemicals in cigarettes such as acids and poisons to launch rockets or to even kill household bugs where compared to hookah which everyone main hook is that its tobacco. Yeah so? It relives stress and personally from what I can tell doesn't kill someone as fast as cigarettes. Also to the person saying we are basically broke and are idiots shut the hell up. Obviously if we can afford hookah and cigarettes health coverage isn't much of a problem hookah alone even not getting a good brand on avg if $18 for one that will last one sit down. So if a person smokes even 3 times a week just buying normal serving when they don't last long and usually smokers such as myself can go through two servings a night which is $36 times that by three then by four (Weeks) so $432 a month and just over $5000 a year. So we aren't broke if we are willing to throw money out the window like that especially being in a recession and the economy going to shit. Also what do you mean paying for us? Oh you mean taxes? Guess what your not the only one who pays them smart ass who ever goes around trolling on people who are looking to see what's worst among tobacco products has no life to come along and insult us based of info you more then likely googled so keep your comments to yourself if your going to be insulting people for no reason.

April 22, 2012 - 11:06pm
EmpowHER Guest

اعتقد ان الهوكا اي الارقيله اكثر ضررا من السكاير,
المقارنهاثبتتان كل نفس ارقيله يعادل 48 ثمانية واربعون سيكاره.
لان كميه الدخان الذي يسحبها المدخن من الارقيلها 12 مر اكثر من السيكاره وتدخ الى الجسم.
ثم في السيكاره تستطيع ان تحدد كميه الدخان وفي الارقيله العكس

March 6, 2012 - 1:46am
EmpowHER Guest

Its a government conspiracy , huge tobacco corporations dont want us smoking healthier things. They want us to get cancer and tar from their cigarettes. Scientifically HOOKAH is safer, smoke nicotine thru water equals purifying. Smoking gives you tar and smoke directly to your lungs and its more addicting.

February 23, 2012 - 4:17pm
EmpowHER Guest

hookah is much safer than cigarettes. i enjoy both, however in hookahs you are not fully burning the tabacco, but in a way steaming or vaporizing it. When you scoop out the used shisha you will see that it is not burned, but shrunken down in size.(unless you over smoke it, gross) as long as you keep as much coal smoke out of the inhaled smoke you are fine. People over exagerate the effects of hookah. It is rather harmless and if you were really smoking the tabacco it wouldnt smell so good. where as smoking cigarettes leave a definite burning smell

July 17, 2010 - 9:17pm
EmpowHER Guest

I know there a lot of hookah smokers hate hearing that hookah is worse than cigarettes.

Well sadly, they are identical, if not worse.

In a hookah, you inhale it deeply so you are able to smoke rich silky smoke from your mouth, so you are inhaling all the sugar and tobacco. It takes 10 times as longer for hookah smokers to recover their lungs than cigarette.

The good thing about it is that it has very little, if none nicotine.

April 22, 2010 - 2:03pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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