Is Hookah More Harmful Than Cigarettes?

Alain Saint-Dic
Alain Saint-Dic, Health and Fitness Editor at 20something, brings over nine years of experience in the health and fitness industry. Though he studied pre-law, his love for the human body, it's adaptive ability and unlocking the largely untapped potential of human beings led him to pursue a passionate career in health, fitness, and athletics.

Every so often when 20somethings come to the realization that they’ve been overindulging on the drinking and partying, there comes a pivotal moment when the “turn down” switch has to be activated. Moments like these can leave us at home to catch up on obligations, or have us still craving social settings minus the pending headache and fatigue.

Going to a hookah bar has become the “chill” night that’s social, fun and trendy. The laid back, aromatic atmosphere, complete with friends and good laughs, makes this seem like a harmless activity. If you’re like me, you probably don’t think much of it, and even after you’ve done your bare minimum wikipedia research, you still deem it an acceptable activity. Why not? It can’t be worse than cigarettes, right?

Disclaimer: Stop here if you love your hookah.


We obviously agree that it’s totally cool because…

  • Theres something about the design of the pipe, it’s very aesthetically pleasing.
  • It’s “smoking without smoking.”
  • All of the flavors! Watermelon, Mint, Blueberry, Apple Cinnamon, Cool Water, Crush, whatever flavor you want, it exists.
  • Theres so much smoke to inhale and blow out.
  • The water in the pipe adds to how cool the activity is, figuratively and literally.
  • All of my friends have done it, even the health conscious ones.


But the “cool” just makes it even more harmful…

  • Okay, the pipe design is pretty cool. So cool that porsche has designed a hookah pipe. However, it’s a pretty distraction from the fact that yes, you are still smoking.
  • Hookah tobacco may be slightly less harmful than cigarette tobacco, but based on sheer volume of inhaled smoke and duration of the activity, smoking hookah can actually be many times worse than smoking cigarettes.
  • Flavors make hookah more enjoyable, hence you do it longer and it becomes more harmful.
  • This cool, hazy smoke factor plays a large part in the harm that hookah causes. Due to the pipe setup, you inhale a significantly higher volume of smoke than you would with cigarettes.
  • If you own a hookah pipe and you clean out the water after a session, you’ll find that the water is pretty much the same color as when it started. The water does not act as a filter for toxins. It just cools them off, so the toxins feel nicer going into your lungs.


Well damn. Yolo?

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