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Unhooking from the hookah

HHS HealthBeat: A man smokes hookah.

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The Facts about Hookah

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Nicholas Garlow with HHS HealthBeat.

Myth – smoking hookah is a safe alternative to cigarettes. Smoking hookah may in some ways actually be worse. A study at the University of California, San Francisco compared the effects of hookah to cigarette smoking.

Dr. Peyton Jacob led the study.

“Exposure to carbon monoxide was about 2.5 times higher during hookah smoking. High carbon monoxide exposure increases the risk for acute events such as a heart attack, stroke, or sudden death in people who have cardiovascular or lung diseases.”

Hookah also exposed users to higher levels of benzene – a cancer-causing chemical, also found in gasoline.

Jacob warns hookah is not a safe alternative for cigarette smokers.

The study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Nicholas Garlow.