-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, May 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- People who smoke
hookahs inhale significant amounts of nicotine and compounds that
can cause cancer, heart disease and other health problems, a new
"Water pipe smoking is generally perceived to be a safe alternative to cigarette smoking, even for children and youths. Our study shows that water pipe use, particularly chronic use, is not risk-free," said study author Gideon St. Helen. He is a postdoctoral fellow in the division of clinical pharmacology and the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco.
The study included 55 men and women, aged 18 to 48, who were
regular hookah smokers. The participants were asked to avoid any
type of smoking for one week, and provided a urine sample at the
end of that week. They then spent an evening smoking hookahs.
During that evening, the study volunteers spent an average of 74
minutes smoking hookahs and smoked an average of 0.6 bowls of
hookah tobacco per person. They provided another urine sample after
the hookah smoking session.
Compared to the urine samples collected after a week of not
smoking, the urine sample collected after the evening of hookah
smoking had: 73 times higher nicotine levels; four times higher
levels of cotinine; two times higher levels of NNAL, a breakdown
product of a tobacco-specific chemical called NNK, which can cause
lung and pancreatic cancers; and 14 percent to 91 percent higher
levels of breakdown products of volatile organic compounds such as
benzene and acrolein, which are known to cause cancer, heart and
The study was published May 16 in the journal
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
The large increase in nicotine levels "raises concerns about the
potential addictiveness of water pipe smoking and possible effects
on the developing brains of children and youths who use water
pipes," St. Helen said in a journal news release. "I have seen
entire families, including young children, smoking water pipes," he
"Our study provides evidence that water pipe smoking leads to significant intake of tobacco-related addictive and harmful substances, and is therefore not without risk, particularly among children and youths," St. Helen concluded.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Information Services. All rights reserved.