Recently before I started a smoking cessation presentation at a local corporation, I asked the small audience of employees several questions like… whom in the group smokes, had smoked or tried to quit. The group consisted of concerned women, all non-smokers, interested in how they could support and encourage a loved one to quit. A question surfaced early on from a mother of a young adult, “What is a hookah pipe and is it harmful?” Several moms around the room voiced interest, as their young adult family members were claiming, “It’s harmless.” That answer did not satisfy this group who seemed to have a “need to know” tone to the conversation. I was glad they asked.
Since I didn’t know the answer, and hadn’t prepared for this question, I conveniently used the large screen, overhead projector and laptop to Google the answer for the group. Here is what we found.
According to Richard D. Hurt, M.D. at the Mayo Clinic
“Hookah smoking is not safer than cigarette smoking. Also known as narghile, shisha and goza, a hookah is a water pipe with a smoke chamber, a bowl, a pipe and a hose. Specially made tobacco is heated, and the smoke passes through water and is then drawn through a rubber hose to a mouthpiece. The tobacco is no less toxic in a hookah pipe, and the water in the hookah does not filter out the toxic ingredients in the tobacco smoke. Hookah smokers may actually inhale more tobacco smoke than cigarette smokers do because of the large volume of smoke they inhale in one smoking session, which can last as long as 60 minutes….”
As you can imagine the conversation was quite lively afterwards. This new young adult fad was deemed not so cool and unsafe. Suspicion confirmed. All were glad they came to their employee health presentation for the month.
Check out these websites for more information. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hookah/AN01265