What is a hookah? Most likely, each of us used this word in his everyday life or in the conversation of friends and acquaintances. But to formulate an exact definition is unlikely to succeed.
So, a hookah is a special vessel for smoking, which allows you to specifically cool and moisten the smoke inhaled through it. To do this, pour water, milk, wine or another liquid into the flask located at the base in order to soften the smoke and get a taste. Before getting into the smoker’s lungs, the smoke enters two special pipes that are located directly in and on top of the water. This originally Indian invention very quickly spread first among Muslims, and somewhat later in Europe.
A logical question immediately arises: “is hookah harmful or not”? There is an opinion in society that smoking a hookah is a kind of non-dangerous alternative to ordinary cigarettes. After all, the liquid that is poured into the flask almost completely cleans all smoke entering the lungs of harmful impurities, and natural tobacco ensures the absence of chemical compounds unhealthy for the human body.
In fact, the harm from smoking a hookah exists, believe me, considerable. A special aromatic tobacco mixture allows you to make it pleasant, which makes the smoker savor and stretch the process, thereby increasing the intake of a fairly large proportion of nicotine in the body.
In advertising, despite the warning on the packaging, the question “what is more harmful than hookah or cigarettes”, as a rule, gives us a definite answer. Hookah, unlike regular cigarettes, smolders rather than burns, is filtered by water, tastes good, contains 0.5% nicotine and 0% resins, etc. Yes, and asking most smokers a “water pipe”, you can stumble upon similar reviews.
Thus, it is necessary to understand whether smoking a hookah is harmful and how it can affect human health.
Is smoking a hookah dangerous?
This process is quite lengthy, which entails the consumption of smoke 100-200 times more than when smoking a cigarette. It should be noted that nicotine and resins after filtration, really get into the body less, but thereby increases the carbon monoxide in the lungs (about 40 times). That is why, if you ask doctors or employees of the Ministry of Emergencies about the dangers of hookah smoking, you will be answered unconditionally “no”.
When smoking in the “Indian way”, much more effort is required, which does not prevent the penetration of smoke into deeper parts of the lungs.
If you examine the body of any hookah smoker, you can find a higher level of concentration of arsenic, chromium, lead, etc. The consequences of this do not inspire much optimism: lung cancer, lung problems, infertility, all kinds of heart diseases. It is worth remembering that smoking a hookah can affect the health of offspring.
Hookah is very rarely smoked alone. And when he smokes, an abundant amount of saliva is secreted, which, perforce, is transmitted to each smoker. Such salivation can threaten viral diseases such as herpes or hepatitis B.
The Indian smoking invention also endangers people who are simply in the community of hookah smokers. And this means that second-hand smoke is no less harmful than ordinary.
Answering the question “is hookah harmful”, one should note an elementary dependence. With its attractive taste and aroma, I want to return to it faster, and the pleasure to extend longer, which certainly will not lead to positive results.
At various youth parties, one can often see how low-alcohol or strong drinks are poured into the hookah instead of the usual water, and aromatic tobacco is changed to hemp. One can imagine what such smoking will lead to.
It should be noted that the majority of hookah smokers resort to it without tobacco dependence. Quitting smoking a hookah prevents them from exploring new tastes, the atmosphere, the desire to follow fashion, etc. In this case, we can talk about another form of dependence – public.
Despite the dangers, smoking a hookah has its advantages:
- smoke filtering when used reduces the nicotine content by 90%, phenols – up to 50%;
- with hookah smoking, tobacco does not interact with open fire, which makes it possible not to contain carcinogens harmful to the body in smoke;
- no matter how much a smoker smokes, passing through water, smoke is cleared of those harmful substances (such as acropein, acetaldehyde), which additionally protects his lungs;
- the aroma of hookah tobacco is much nicer than cigarette;
- hookah can be used for medicinal purposes. To do this, just pour the necessary medicinal infusion into the flask and inhale it through the tube;
- also, this device can be used as a simulator for the development of breathing.
Thus, when answering the question “hookah is harmful or not”, a logical conclusion can be made that the Ministry of Health warns not in vain about smoking, which is dangerous for human health. This, alas, applies to the hookah. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that his single “smoking” would be more dangerous than an ordinary holiday binge. Just try to follow these rules:
- for smoking, use only special tobacco or mixtures made independently after prior consultation with specialists;
- change mouthpieces regularly if you smoke in a large company;
- wash the hookah immediately after use;
- do not drink alcohol. It is better to pour milk or juice into the flask. By the way, to enhance the smell, you can add a little rose oil;
- after the hookah smoking process, give preference to tea or lemonade, rather than strong drinks.
Психолог, бизнес-консультант и тренер по йоге. Магистр психологии Northeastern University (Boston). В 2017 году переехал из Бостона в Санкт-Петербург. Путешественник и автор блога VrednyePrivychki 🙂