Hookahs more dangerous than cigarettes

Smoking hookah is more harmful than cigarette, a medical expert warned.

New Delhi: Smoking hookah is increasingly becoming popular among the youth but its use is more harmful than cigarette, a medical expert warned Sunday.

"Many young people seem to believe that hookahs and other water pipes are safer than cigarettes, but its use is more detrimental to a person`s health than smoking cigarettes," said Purushottam Lal, chairman and chief interventional cardiologist of Metro Hospitals and Heart Institute.

According to a survey by the Metro Hospital, hookah cafes have become a trend in the capital and one in four youth uses it.

Lal said the popularity of water-filled smoking pipes may be because of perception that they are safer than cigarettes.

"A false belief among users is that the smoke from hookah is less dangerous than that of cigarettes. This is wrong," he added.

According to Lal, the study has found that the users consume around 100 to 200 times more smoke and about 70 times more nicotine in one hour of hookah session compared to smoking a single cigarette.

"Water pipe smokers are seven times more likely than non-smokers to show signs of gum disease and mouth cancer. Each hookah session consists of 50 to 200 inhalations that each range from 0.15 to 0.5 litres of smoke," Lal said.

The doctor said that water pipe smoke contains nicotine, carbon monoxide, carcinogens and it may also have greater amounts of tar and heavy metals than cigarette smoke.

Meanwhile, a hookah cafe owner, pleading anonymity, said age proof is aked from customers who want to smoke hookah.

"Mainly, youngsters in their twenties come here."

Hookah manufacturer Ashok Srivastav told IANS that there are around 10 popular hookah cafes in the city.

Tobacco use is the second biggest cause of death globally after hypertension and is responsible for killing one in 10 adults worldwide.

World No Tobacco Day is observed May 31.


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