New Carbon Monoxide Danger in Hookah Smoking
This popular way to smoke is perceived as safer than cigarettes, but new research shows it carries dangers of its own.
The Partnership at Drugfree.org wants you to know that the hookah you think is so cool can have dangerous side effects.
While the health effects of hookahs, or water pipes, haven’t been studied as rigorously as cigarettes, the risks are becoming clearer as the pipes grow in popularity in the US. A major concern is that they can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, according to health officials.
Drawing the attention of young users, hookahs are viewed as a less dangerous way of using tobacco. Hookah bars, where many go to indulge, feature water pipes that are used to smoke a blend of tobacco, molasses and fruit called shisha. But researchers are finding that the water in the pipe does not filter all the harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke. In fact, the smoke inhaled in a typical one-hour hookah session can equal 100 cigarettes or more, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Even after it has been passed through water, the tobacco smoke in a hookah pipe contains high levels of cancer-causing chemicals.
Poison Centers are reporting seeing hookah users with significant carbon monoxide poisoning, and regular hookah users may develop long-term health problems from increased carbon monoxide levels, including neurological damage. In severe cases, carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to a coma or death.
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By Wendy Lee Nentwig