Laboratory tests have suggested risks from hookah,
also known as water pipes. But the new study published in Cancer
Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention is the first to link real-life
hookah use to exposure to nicotine and other harmful chemicals,
“One of the main reasons for doing this study is water pipe smoking
is becoming much more popular - especially among younger people and
college students,” said Gideon St.Helen, the study’s lead author
from the University of California, San Francisco.
Water pipes consist of a long tube attached to a glass or plastic
container that holds water. The tobacco, which is flavored with
fruits and sugar syrup, is burned using charcoal. The smoke passes
through the water before being inhaled.
Users often believe that the water filters out the toxins in the
smoke, but Thomas Eissenberg, who was not involved with the new
research, said that’s not the case.
“What the water does do is not filter the smoke, but cools the smoke
so it’s very easy to inhale,” said Eissenberg, of Virginia
Commonwealth University in Richmond, who has studied water pipe
Hookah is often used in a group and a session usually lasts about an
hour, according to past research.
For the new study, the researchers recruited 55 people from the San
Francisco area who almost exclusively smoked hookah. They were asked
to abstain from smoking any nicotine products during the week before
going to a hookah bar for the study.
provided three urine samples: one before smoking hookah, one
immediately after and another the next morning.
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After analyzing participants’ urine samples, the researchers found
that nicotine levels increased 73-fold following the hookah session.
They also found significant increases in other compounds that have
been tied to increased risks of heart and respiratory diseases and
to lung and pancreatic cancer.
“It’s always been a question by water pipe users - blogs and online
reviewers - whether the results we get from the lab generalize to a
real-life setting,” Eissenberg told Reuters Health. “This puts that
It’s difficult to translate the findings into risks for a given
hookah smoker, St.Helen said. But he did say users are “increasing
(their) risk of cancer and other tobacco-related diseases.”
“If you’re not smoking cigarettes because you’re worried about
tobacco-caused diseases, you should also not be smoking water
pipes,” Eissenberg said.
SOURCE: http://bit.ly/1lqjeaQ Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers &
Prevention, online May 16, 2014.
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