The smoking of a hookah, essentially a water pipe, which is also known with various other names such as goza, shisha and narghile is becoming increasingly popular, especially among the younger ages, who engage in this pastime at special venues, such as hookah lounges. Because of its make-up, which consists of a smoke chamber, a pipe, a bowl and a hose that ends in a mouthpiece through which the smoke is drawn and inhaled, the wrong impression has been created that the water somehow filters out the dangerous elements that are present in the tobacco smoke that is created by the hookah smoke chamber, thus rendering the smoking of hookah safe or at least safer. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, it could be fairly safe to argue that smoking hookah is actually more dangerous than smoking a regular cigarette for a number of reasons.
The first reason is because the tobacco that is used in a hookah is often much more strong, rich and intense than the tobacco used in a regular cigarette, where smokers also have the choice of opting for a lower nicotine and tar level content. Moreover, the alluring flavours that are added to the hookah tobacco give it a taste that is fruity or sweet or in any case more pleasant, thus leading many to smoke more rather than less or inhale it with more passion, thus taking down much more harmful substances.
Since the tobacco that is used in a hookah is no less poisonous than the one used in a cigarette, be it ready-made or roll-your-own, hookah smokers are in fact more likely to be breathing in more tobacco smoke compared to what cigarette smokers do. This is because usually one hookah smoking session, which usually takes place in a relaxed atmosphere, as part of socializing with friends at special entertainment venues, takes much longer than smoking a cigarette, sometimes even lasting up to 60 minutes.
Moreover, since the majority of hookah smokers engage in this habit not at their home using their own water pipe and mouthpiece, but at public venues, this raises other hygiene concerns, in case the various cafes and other establishments offering hookah smoking do not clean the hookahs and especially the mouthpieces properly and thoroughly.
Furthermore, and despite the fact that specific research into the actual effects of hookah smoking is still young since the rise in hookah consumption is a rather recent phenomenon, one could point out that just like regular cigarette tobacco and smoke the hookah smokes does also have high levels of dangerous mixes, such as carbon monoxide, tar, heavy metals and other substances that can cause several health problems, such as cancers, heart diseases and other medical conditions. In fact, persons who smoke hookah are exposed to more smoke and carbon monoxide than are people who smoke regular cigarettes.
Finally, one should not forget that since hookah smoking results in the inhalation of almost identical amounts of nicotine as cigarette smoking, it also leads to addiction, plus the passive smokers around hookah-smokers are exposed to the same risks as passive smokers around normal cigarette smokers.