Which is more dangerous: hookah or cigarettes

Health specialists say many flavours available for hubble-bubble attract children. / 123RF
Health specialists say many flavours available for hubble-bubble attract children. / 123RF

According to the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa), cancerous infections are not only found in people who smoke cigarettes but also in those who use what some consider a harmless alternative, hookahs.

Because a hookah smoking session typically lasts longer, Cansa health specialist Professor Michael Herbst says hookah smokers take more puffs than cigarette smokers.

Research conducted by Cansa found a hookah smoker takes 100 puffs per session, whereas one cigarette can be smoked in about 10 puffs.

"People often believe because the smoke is filtered through water, the harmful products are removed.

"However, the only thing the water may do is cool down the smoke a little bit," says Herbst.

"There is no safe level of smoking. Smoking is smoking, and it's bad. People who are smoking should get urgent assistance to kick their habit."

Herbst notes that many flavourings available for hookahs tend to attract children. They often believe it's not harmful to smoke hookahs and it makes them look cool in the eyes of their friends.

However, there is nothing safe about hookahs.

Clinical health specialist Dr Nonhlanhla Duba says tobacco use is often initiated during young adulthood.

"Tobacco remains a major cause of disease and premature death globally.

"Smoking of any form should be discouraged," Duba warns.

Diseases you can get from hookah pipes

Cancer: Due to the large amounts of tobacco often smoked from a hookah, users are at risk of developing cancer.

Lung disease: You can also get infectious diseases that affect the lungs such as pneumonia and TB if you share it with someone who is infected.

Herpes: You can pick up herpes if you share your pipe with some- one who has the oral infection.