From: Laurie Balbo, Green Prophet
Published September 21, 2012 06:21 AM

Dangers of Hookah Water Pipes

A 45 minute shisha session is the equivalent of puffing 100 cigarettes.

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In a new study, Iranian researchers proved tobacco water pipes are as harmful as cigarettes, saying, "Our findings reveal profound effects of water pipe smoking on lung function, similar to the effects observed in deep inhalation cigarette smokers." A student at Amman's American Community School beat them to that conclusion by a solid six months. The website he created as part of an 8th grade project presaged findings just published by Mashhad University scientists in the journal Respiralogy. The Iranian study, the first of its kind in the Middle East, also suggests that most females don't cop to smoking shisha (or any other form of tobacco). Come on now, ladies, in the name of science, let's be truthful.

Water pipes (also called hookah, shisha, nargila) are wrongly considered as a healthier way to enjoy tobacco. Old hippie legend suggests that forcing smoke through water filters out toxins. Instead, studies show that tobacco's contaminants have more sticking power when mixed with humidity.

The Israel Cancer Association (ICA) confirms that water pipe smoke contains tar, arsenic, chromium, lead, and nicotine. Pipes produce high levels of carbon monoxide which raises risk of throat and lung cancers and respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

According to the Harvard Mental Health Letter, a 45 minute shisha session is the equivalent of puffing 100 cigarettes.

Unlike a quick cigarette drag, smoking a water pipe is a lengthy and languorous process. Humidified smoke eases throat dryness, encouraging longer shisha sessions. And it's a social smoke: most light up with friends at special shisha lounges or smoke-friendly cafes.

Woman smoking hookah via Shutterstock.

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