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Hookah Tobacco Smoking Session Delivers 25 Times the Toxicants of a Single Cigarette

Do you smoke hookah as opposed to cigarettes? You may be inhaling a lot of toxicants. Scientists have found that one hookah tobacco smoking sessions delivers 25 times the tar of a single cigarette.

In this latest study, the researchers reviewed 542 scientific articles relevant to cigarette and hookah smoking and then narrowed them down to 17 studies that included sufficient data to extract reliable estimates on toxicants inhaled when smoking cigarettes or hookah.

“Our results show that hookah tobacco smoking poses real health concerns and that it should be monitored more closely than it is currently,” said Brian A. Primack, one of the researchers, in a news release. “For example, hookah smoking was not included in the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey System questionnaire, which assesses cigarette smoking, chewing tobacco, electronic cigarettes and many other forms of substance abuse.”

Comparing a hookah smoking session to smoking a single cigarette is a complex comparison to make. This is largely due to the differences in smoking patterns. While a frequent cigarette smoker may smoke 20 cigarettes per day, a frequent hookah smoker may only participant in a few hookah sessions each day.

“It’s not a perfect comparison because people smoke cigarettes and hookahs in very different ways,” said Primack. “We had to conduct our analysis this way-comparing a single hookah session to a single cigarette-because that’s the way the underlying studies tend to report findings. So, the estimates we found cannot tell us exactly what is ‘worse.’ But what they do suggest is that hookah smokers are exposed to a lot more toxicants than they probably realize.”

The findings are published in the journal Public Health Reports.

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