NEW YORK (CNN) – It’s social, it’s relaxing, and it can kill you. It’s called hookah, a water pipe used to smoke tobacco that is often flavored.
Cigarette smoking is declining in the United States, but the popularity of hookah is on the rise, especially among young people who may think its safer then cigarettes but that’s simply not true.
You’re inhaling the same toxins that you would as if you were smoking a cigarette. Some people mistakenly think they are breathing in nothing but water vapor, but you’re actually inhaling tobacco smoke when you use a hookah.
Like smoking cigarettes this can lead to lung cancer, other cancers, as well as heart disease. You’re getting more smoke during a hookah session than you do from smoking a pack of cigarettes.
But it may not seem that way. The smoke passes through water before you inhale, cooling it so it feels less irritating to the lungs then other tobacco smoke.
Like with cigarettes, hookah smoking can be addictive because of the nicotine in the tobacco, and there’s a risk of infection when people share the same hookah mouthpiece.
The next time you want to go out with friends, be social, relax, but think twice before smoking hookah.