Student Voice


June 12, 2024


Hookahs more dangerous than cigarettes

September 30, 2010

A tobacco pipe with a tube that passes smoke through a container of water to cool it, called the hookah, is being seen around campus more and more this school year. This could be possible because the new target age for marketing the hookah is between ages eighteen and twenty four. However, behind the remarkable colors and designs on the hookah pipe itself are health hazards that many students do not know exist.

After talking with multiple students and friends of mine, I realized that more people than I had originally thought smoke hookah. None of the students I spoke with that will remain unnamed knew that hookah was dangerous. They especially did not know that it could harm other students on campus. One myth that some people perceive as being true is that hookah is better to smoke than cigarettes. Although they are both legal, after reviewing article releases from the Mayo Clinic, hookah is actually considered to be worse for your health than smoking cigarettes. Hookah smokers essentially inhale more tobacco than cigarette smokers because of the amount of hookah smoke, also known as shisha, they inhale in a smoking session. In one session, a hookah smoker may intake as much smoke as if they smoked approximately one hundred cigarettes. In addition, shisha contains thirty-six times more tar and fifteen times more carbon monoxide than cigarettes.

Another misconception about hookahs is that because hookahs contain water, the water will filter out health damaging ingredients from the smoke. Unfortunately water does not filter out unsafe ingredients such as tobacco or other cancer causing chemicals, water filtered smoke can still harm the lungs and heart leading to heart disease, oral cancers, and lung cancer. A new false impression of the hookah is that it does not increase second hand smoke risks when in fact, lounging at a hookah bar with your friends, even if you are personally not smoking, can cause health risks such as respiratory disease.

Lastly, a recent myth is that because shisha can contain fruit, it is healthier than regular tobacco. While it is true that shisha can be soaked in molasses, honey, and mixed fruit it still does not filter out the nicotine and cancer causing chemicals. Bottom line, stick to the conventional methods of getting your daily fruit-eat an apple.