Be Wary of Waterpipe Smoking
Waterpipe smoking, commonly known as hookah, was invented by a 16th century physician in India. The process involves a flavored tobacco which burns in a small bowl, with the resulting smoke traveling through a water chamber, rubber tube, and ends via inhalation through a mouthpiece. Today, over 2.3 million Americans smoke waterpipes, and the rise of hookah cafes have led to increased use from the 18-24 age group. What many are unaware of however, are the hazardous effects on one’s health that hookah can cause.
Research recently published in the Journal of the American Dental Association has stated that hookah is associated with gum disease, oral cancer, esophageal cancer, lung cancer, heart disease, and dry sockets. Side effects are not limited to dry mouth, bad breath, reduced lung function, and even decreased fertility.
A common misconception is that hookah is less harmful than smoking cigarettes. However, just one hookah smoking session alone can equate to smoking 100 cigarettes! This is largely because one session can last up to 80 minutes, allowing a smoker to take between 50-200 puffs. On the contrary, cigarettes usually take 5-7 minutes to smoke and can be finished in 20-75 puffs. As a result, the volume of smoke being inhaled leads to a much greater amount of exposure to tar and nicotine, increasing risk of addiction and disease.
Thus, because most hookah smokers and the general public are unaware of the adverse short-term and long-term effects waterpipes have on one’s oral and overall health, it is especially crucial to spread awareness. Hopefully, the growth in today’s growing hookah smoking market will decline and eventually cease.
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