Smoking hookah has now been found to increase chances of blood clots. Hookah smoking is becoming more popular in Western countries, but many are not aware of the risks associated with this hobby, such as heart attack and stroke.
Hookah, also known as waterpipe smoking, is a single or multi-stemmed water pipe that originated in India around the turn of the 17th century. The pipe consists of a head which holds the tobacco, a chamber which is filled with water, a hose, and a mouthpiece for inhaling.
Although hookah tobacco isn’t the same as ordinary tobacco, the basic fact is that it’s still tobacco. “Hookah smoking, which is becoming more popular in Western countries, is perceived as less harmful than cigarettes, yet hookahs carry a toxic profile that is thought to be comparable or to even exceed that of traditional cigarettes. Some studies have found that the smoke emitted from one hookah tobacco smoking episode contains significantly more harmful chemicals compared to a single cigarette,” said Fadi Khasawneh, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of pharmaceutical sciences at The University of Texas at El Paso.
In a new study published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology (ATVB), researchers exposed mice to hookah smoke from a smoking machine that mimicked real-life smoking habits. The smoke was created from 12 grams of commercially available flavored tobacco that included tobacco, glycerin, natural flavor, molasses, nicotine, and tar.
This simulated the type of nicotine exposure that occurs when smoking a hookah. Researchers verified the similarities by measuring the levels of cotinine, the nicotine metabolite. To measure the findings, platelet activity among the exposed vs. the unexposed mice was recorded.
It was found that tobacco smoke from a hookah caused blood clots to form within an average of about 11 seconds, compared to an average of 5 minutes for clotting without exposure to hookah smoke. Other abnormalities were also noted from exposure to the hookah smoke.
“Our findings provide new evidence that hookah smoking is as unhealthy – if not more so – than traditional cigarettes,” Khasawneh said. “Smoking a hookah, cigarettes, e-cigarettes or other forms of tobacco all increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.”
Hookah Smoking Adversely Affects Cardiovascular Health
Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., chair of the Scientific Statement writing group spoke about the study conclusion saying, “This study provides additional evidence that, contrary to popular belief, hookah smoking adversely affects cardiovascular health. From 2011 to 2015, the number of United States-based waterpipe establishments is estimated to have more than doubled, and interest has grown among both teens and adults. Although the tobacco industry has found novel ways to popularize and increase the use of new products, studies like this highlight the high risk of hookah smoking.”
More information needs to be made available to the public to educate people on the dangers of smoking hookah. With the trend continuing, and more hookah bars opening in America, people need to be made aware of the dangers to health that smoking this tabaco may cause.