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Potential health risks of hookah smoking are being overlooked by users, concerning toxicologists

Date:
February 2, 2015
Source:
Society of Toxicology
Summary:
Toxicologists are concerned about the public perception that hookah smoking is a safer alternative to other forms of tobacco use. Hookah smoking can produce carcinogens and other chemicals associated with ill health at levels similar to or higher than cigarette smoking.
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Hookah smoking appears to be on the rise, despite risks.
Credit: Image courtesy of Society of Toxicology

Studies have shown that hookah smoking is on the rise among adolescents and young adults, which is a cause of concern for members of the Society of Toxicology (SOT).

"Researchers are finding that people perceive hookah smoking as a safer and healthier means of tobacco use. However, toxicological research is finding elements in hookah smoke that are well-established to cause adverse health effects," says Norbert E. Kaminski, PhD, SOT President 2014-2015.

Studies show that hookah use is associated with potentially dangerous chemicals and health effects:

  • Chemicals produced during one hookah smoking session of 45 to 60 minutes can equal those produced by smoking 10 or more cigarettes.
  • Hookah use generates carcinogens, such as benzene, and has been linked to lung cancer and loss of lung function.
  • Similar peak plasma nicotine levels, greater blood carbon monoxide levels, and much greater inhaled smoke volume were observed from exposure to hookah smoke compared to cigarette smoke.

"Developing comprehensive assessments of any substance's health risks can take years of research," says Dr. Kaminski, "but in the meantime, individuals using hookah water pipes need to be aware of the potential dangers that are already present."

In its new issue statement on hookah smoking, the Society identifies many factors that could impact the health of hookah users, including the inhaled smoke and vapors; secondhand smoke and vapors; and emissions generated from the smoldering charcoal that is used in water pipes.

The report can be found online at: https://www.toxicology.org/pr/Hookah_HowDangerous.pdf


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Cite This Page:

Society of Toxicology. "Potential health risks of hookah smoking are being overlooked by users, concerning toxicologists." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 February 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150202105325.htm>.
Society of Toxicology. (2015, February 2). Potential health risks of hookah smoking are being overlooked by users, concerning toxicologists. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 26, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150202105325.htm
Society of Toxicology. "Potential health risks of hookah smoking are being overlooked by users, concerning toxicologists." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150202105325.htm (accessed May 26, 2017).

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