Employees of hookah bars are at high risk for second-hand smoke. “Hookah [water pipe] use is often exempt from clean indoor air laws that protect people from second-hand smoke,” said senior author Terry Gordon. “Ours is the first study that links poor hookah bad air quality to damaging effects in workers, and the results recommend closer monitoring of this industry to protect the public,” Gordon added.
The popularity of hookah bars is rising in the U.S. with nearly 140 of them across America.
The study looked at 10 hookah bar employees who were tested upon completion of their scheduled working shift. According to the test results, they had inhaled high levels of carbon monoxide and nicotine during their shift. Employees were also found to have inflammation associated with airway and lung diseases.
The employees test results were similar to heavy cigarette smokers.
Although many individuals believe hookah smoking is a safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes, it still poses a high risk to individuals, even the second-hand smoke.
Gordon concluded, “Our findings challenge the belief that second-hand exposure to hookah smoke is safe. We hope that our paper leads to larger studies of indoor air quality and regulations that protect workers and patrons.”