If you’ve ever used hookahs, I hope you’ve also figured that you are basically smoking tobacco through water pipes. While it's very entertaining to see somebody smoke from this like The Caterpillar in Alice in the Wonderland, recent studies showed that this cool way of smoking isn’t as safe as the majority thought.
Thing is, even college kids today don’t know what they have been putting in their lungs. For instance, a 2016 study
showed that 27 percent of college students believed that hookahs didn’t contain tobacco and 38 percent believed that it didn’t contain any nicotine! This is clearly alarming and calls for clarification.
The Center for Disease Control in the US said that hookah smoke "is not a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes" and "carries many of the same risks," noting that a single hookah session is much worse than a single stick of cigarette. But it’s gaining more and more popularity as days go by. It even had its latest upgrade: new e-charcoals or electronic hookah discs to replace the regular charcoals.
So, chemistry PhD student Ryan Saadawi from the University of Cincinnati delved in the health effects of hookahs particularly in our precious lungs. "One of my friends told me I need to stop smoking hookahs because one hour is worth a hundred cigarettes," he said.
He utilized different charcoals used for hookahs for comparison and divided them into two categories: higher-toxin and lower-toxin. The new e-charcoals were also tested. He then used a makeshift hookah that included a pink liquid made to support lung cells, essentially replicating the effect of smoking on the lungs. And the results were surprising. The charcoal with lower toxins killed 10 percent of the lung cells in just 24 hours while the higher- toxin charcoal killed 25! The e-charcoal, however, killed 80 percent!
It should be put in mind though that these are not real lungs and while it’s horrifying, the numbers are only meaningful in comparison with each other. Still, I hope you got the point: hookah isn’t a healthy alternative to cigarettes.
So, if you know someone who has made puffing from this water pipe a habit, better inform them of what type of toxicity they are putting in their lungs! It pays to know especially when it could harm yourself or those people you care for. Who knows what happened to the caterpillar's lungs from all that smoking lest not figure it out yourself!