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Just One Hookah Session Delivers 25 Times The Tar Of Cigarettes, Study

Update Date: Jan 15, 2016 09:36 AM EST

While hookah smoking or "waterpipe" has always thought to be more harmful than cigarettes, a recent study  reveals that just one hookah session can convey 25 times the tar of just one cigarette.

Some University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences researchers studied earlier literature, beginning with 542 articles, which helped them to identify 17 that gave some idea of the toxins that hit the body.

Apart from giving 25 times the tar of a single cigarette, hookah smoking "gives 125 times the smoke, 10 times the carbon monoxide and 2.5 times the nicotine of a cigarette."

"Our results show that hookah tobacco smoking poses real health concerns and that it should be monitored more closely than it is currently," lead author Dr. Brian A. Primack said in a press release.

So far, this form of smoking has never been studied much. The 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey System, examined cigarettes, tobacco, electronic cigarettes and other abusive substances.

However, the frequency of smoking between the two forms varies. "It's not a perfect comparison because people smoke cigarettes and hookahs in very different ways," Primack said. "We had to conduct the analysis this way -comparing a single hookah session to a single cigarette - because that's the way the underlying studies tend to report findings."

Hence, it isn't clear which is worse.

"But what they do suggest is that hookah smokers are exposed to a lot more toxicants than they probably realize. After we have more fine-grained data about usage frequencies and patterns, we will be able to combine those data with these findings and get a better sense of relative overall toxicant load," Primack said.

Waterpipe smoking can lead to "lung, oral and bladder cancers, heart disease and clogged arteries". While its juices boost risks of oral cancer, the charcoal used for heating the tobacco can cause "metals, carbon monoxide and other toxic substances", according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study will be published in the January/February 2016 issue of Public Health Reports.

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