Hookah smoking is often viewed as a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes. The claim is primarily due to the sweet smell and the taste of hookah tobacco. The social aspect involved in hookah pipe smoking makes it an occasional habit that addicts find difficult to avoid. However, there is no such thing known as healthy smoking, and hookah smoking cannot be and stands as dangerous as cigarette smoking. In line with such allegations, one might be wondering what hookah contains and what exactly does one smoke from a single puff of hookah.
What is Hookah?
A hookah refers to a water pipe utilized in smoking flavoured and sweetened tobacco. Other names used for hookah include shisha, Goza, narghile, argileh as well as Hubble- bubble. The pipe is relatively large and contains a water chamber, a tobacco chamber as well as one or more tubes that are flexible hence allowing multiple smokers to inhale shisha at the same time.
Hookah tobacco differs from cigar smoking as it is sweetened with fruit pulp, honey, or molasses. Additional flavours such as coconut, mint, cheese, or fruit flavours are added to change the taste of the smoke. The flavourings sweeten the aroma and taste of tobacco hence being more appealing to the younger generation.
How it Works
The chamber in hookah containing tobacco consists of a bow with burning charcoal that is placed on top of the flavoured tobacco. The burning charcoal is, however, separated from smoking by a perforated foil. The lit charcoal heats tobacco and smoke is generated. When users are ready to draw on the hose or rather the stem, the smoke is pulled via the water chamber and cools before being inhaled in the lungs. The aspect creates some sensation that makes the smoker feels high hence craving for more shisha.
Toxins in Hookah
There has been a misconception that smoke from a hookah is free from nicotine as well as other toxins from tobacco. Although water-cooled smoke is less hostile to the lungs, its toxicity remains and can cause a cancer-related issue as the carcinogenic compounds in tobacco are not filtered out in the process of smoking. Thus, hookah smoke contains harmful chemicals such as Carbon monoxide, arsenic, cobalt, lead, Polonium, Cadmium, Tar & Nickel, among other carcinogenic elements.
Some hookah tobacco products claim the lack of tar in them. However, this is a misconception misleading as tobacco contains tar till it is burned. The aspect causes hookah smokers to feel safe on smoking shisha, but this is not the case and shisha pens seem to be a safer option with fewer chemicals.
In a nutshell, hookah smoking is not different from cigarette smoking. Shisha contains metals, carbon monoxide as well as other cancer-causing agents such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons that add the level of danger to these smokers. Although the cooling effect of tobacco tends to be less corrosive to the lungs, the cancer agents are not filtered out. Thus, before you sit around the hookah and pull a single puff, it is wise to remember that you are exposing yourself to cancer, let alone other smoke-related illnesses.