MEDFORD, Ore. — With information collected over two years, the Journal Pediatrics found that nearly one out of five high school seniors smoked hookah within the last year.
Hookah devices typically force the tobacco smoke through water that cools it, which makes it feel less harsh to inhale.
Doctors also say teens can be drawn to hookah for the flavored tobacco, and that it is typically done in a social setting. This can expose people to tobacco for longer than smoking a cigarette. Smoking a single cigarette has an average of 20 puffs of tobacco per cigarette, and doctors say that in a single sitting, people are inhaling roughly 200 puffs of tobacco when smoking hookah.
Medical professionals also say that since hookah devices force the smoke through water before it is inhaled, many people think it is safer, and carries less health risks than smoking cigarettes.
“You have the same health risks as it has with tobacco, regular cigarettes, and smoking, along with the charcoal that’s used to heat up the tobacco, it produces higher levels of carbon monoxide, and metals and carcinogens that are inhaled along with the tobacco carcinogens,” said Dr. Kenneth Haugen with the Providence Cancer Center in Medford.
The study says that living in a big city, having highly educated parents, and having higher income from a job, increased the odds of hookah use. The study also found that boys are more likely to smoke hookah than girls.