Hookah is also called names such as goza, narghile, and shisha and is basically a water pipe. This type of pipe has been used for centuries in areas such as Asia and the Middle East. More recently, hookah bars and cafes are becoming more popular, especially among college students and teens.
Due to the frequency of puffing, depth of inhalation, and length of smoking, hookah smokers inhale higher levels of toxins.
Hookah smoking is more dangerous than cigarettes. There is a myth that hookah smoking is safer because the smoke passes through water to filter out all the “bad stuff”. However, research has shown that hookah smokers receive more carbon monoxide (CO), nicotine and smoke than cigarette smokers.
In general, hookah smokers are exposed to 100 to 200 times the volume of smoke compared to a cigarette.
The nicotine content in hookah smoke is equivalent to a smoker that smokes 200-300 cigarettes a day, demonstrating a very high potential for addiction.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, Smoking and Tobacco Use: Data and Statistics: Fact Sheets.
This information has been approved by Amy Lukowski, PsyD (November 2011).