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Hookah Is Addictive And Harmful, Experts Say

Update Date: Feb 22, 2014 11:13 PM EST

Smoking hookah is certainly addictive and harmful but people might not realize the associated dangers, asserts a new study. 

"The cooled and sweetened flavor of hookah tobacco makes it more enticing to kids and they falsely believe it's less harmful," Tracey E. Barnett from the University of Florida in Gainesville told Reuters Health

"One-time use can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning or other diseases, including but not limited to tuberculosis, herpes, respiratory illnesses including the flu, and long-term use can lead to heart disease and many cancers," Barnett said.

In the previous studies it has been considered to be even more dangerous than cigarettes. 

The practice has been made popular by the Hindu civilization dating back to 15th Century which later spread through the Ottoman Empire. 

According to an estimate, nearly 100 million people worldwide smoke hookah every day. 

"While water is a filter, it does not filter out any of the toxins," Barnett added. 

In the study, researchers have linked the hookah smoking to lung damage and other health dangers. According to World Health Organization, a hookah session is about 20 to 80 minutes in which the hookah user inhales smoke equal to the cigarette smoker who would from smoking 100 or more cigarettes. 

"In casual conversations with friends and patients - folks often appreciate that smoking anything comes with risks," said Adrienne J. Heinz who studies alcohol and drug use patterns at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, according to Reuters. "However, hookah is certainly viewed as more benign, and when you share general facts about toxin exposure in one hookah session, it often shocks and surprises them."

"There is also the misconception that because hookah sessions tend to be less frequent than smoking a cigarette, and because hookah is smoked through a water chamber, that the practice is safer," she added.

The study has been published in the Respiratory Medicine. 

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