Is Hookah Smoking Safe? Let’s Look At The Research

After A long day, many people prefer to relax by smoking a hookah. This type of tobacco smoking uses a water bowl, a flexible mouthpiece, a metal body, and other components. Sometimes flavored tobacco is smoked which is a practice known as smoking a shisha.

The concept of hookah smoking originated in either Asia or Africa. Many believe that its roots can be traced back to ancient Persia. It is commonly believed that hookah smoking is not injurious to health, at least not as much as cigarettes. However, the World Health Organization warns that hookah smoking exposes you to several many toxins and can “cause lung cancer, heart disease, and other diseases.”

The Argument Against Hookah Smoking

An American Journal of Cardiology report says that hookah smoking can increase blood pressure, heart rate as well as arterial stiffness. All this damage can be caused by only 30 minutes of doing the hookah. Contrary to what the WHO says, researchers from Saudi Arabia say that shisha smoke is 30x less chemical-concentrated than cigarette smoking.

However, other experts argue that while hookah smoking, people inhale a lot of smoke, slowly and deliberately. This allows a lot of toxins to go inside the body. According to Mayo Clinic, smoke from the hookah contains tar, carbon monoxide, carcinogens, and heavy metals. It is linked to lung cancers, oral cancers, heart disease and many other serious illnesses.

There is also the risk of infections spreading since the pipes of hookahs may not be properly clean. The lung diseases associated to hookah include bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Heart attacks and other cardiovascular risks are also high among those who smoke the hookah. Moreover, hookah smoking can cause premature aging of the skin as well.

Is Hookah Smoking Less Toxic Than Cigarette Smoking?

Many people believe that hookah smoking is a better option than cigarette smoking. However, that is not the case as per studies. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse says hookahs deliver 22.5x more nicotine than cigarettes. What’s more, the Center for Disease Control says that people take 200 puffs while hookah smoking whereas when cigarette smoking, they take 20 puffs.

Do the math and you’ll know that hookahs can actually be even more harmful than cigarettes. Other myths that make hookah smoking seem innocent include the belief that it is non-addictive. In truth, hookah smoking is addictive since it contains nicotine. Even though hookah smoke is cooler than the heated cigarette smoke, it still burns the lungs.

Lastly, it is also important to note that the water used in hookahs doesn’t filter the harmful chemical present in it. Passive hookah smoking is also harmful. Therefore, if you are not a hookah smoker but sit in the company of those who smoke the hookah when with you, try to avoid the smoke.


It is only a myth that hookah smoking doesn’t damage your health. Hookah smoking may be more, if not equally, harmful as cigarette smoking. It can damage your lungs, oral health and lead to cardiovascular disease too.