[dropcap]P[/dropcap]ITTSBURGH, US – A first of its kind data released on Wednesday showed that compared with a single cigarette, one hookah session releases approximately 125 times the smoke, 25 times the tar, 2.5 times the nicotine and 10 times the carbon monoxide.
The analysis, led by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, vindicates the World Health Organisation’s fears that hookah smokers are inhaling a large load of toxicants.
Water pipe use is most prevalent in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, but it is a rapidly emerging problem in other continents such as Europe, North America and South America. In the US, the decreasing prevalence of cigarette smoking, as a result of decades of tobacco control efforts, has coincided with the emergence of unregulated alternatives such as flavoured tobacco via waterpipe (hookah).
“A water pipe tobacco smoking session may deliver over 20 times the smoke volume of a single cigarette,” WHO said. “Our results show that smoking hookah poses real health concerns and should be monitored more closely ,” said lead author Brian A Primack.
These findings comes at a time when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that, for the first time in history, past 30 day use of hookah was higher than past 30-day use of cigarettes among US high school students. Additionally, about one-third of US college students have smoked from a hookah.