Hookah is much more harmful than cigarettes, said doctor and TV presenter Alexander Myasnikov. According to him, when smoking a hookah, as many harmful substances are inhaled as contained in about 1.5 packs of cigarettes. Is it really so? And that smoking is less harmful?
Regular hookah smoking significantly increases the risk of lung cancer. This is due to the ingress of fine particles of smoke into the lungs, explained Dr. Myasnikov: “We inhale microparticles of combustion along with the smoke, and a microburn occurs in the lungs during the inhalation, which can then provoke lung cancer.” In his opinion, there is no safe way to smoke. Pipes and cigars are also dangerous, as they often cause swelling in the mouth.
Hookah versus cigarettes
He talks about the dangers of different types of smoking, including vaping Co-Chair of the Russian Anti-Tobacco Coalition Daria Khalturina… She has been working on this topic for many years and is well versed in it:
– As for the harmfulness of smoke when smoking a hookah, everything is so. After all, almost all harmful substances of tobacco smoke are products of tobacco combustion, and when you smoke a hookah, like cigarettes, the smoking mixture also burns out. And it doesn’t matter that it is not always tobacco, but an apple, melon or something else. – the combustion of plants produces approximately the same substances. By the way, the same happens when cooking over an open fire, during forest fires. – all this is harmful. Considering that the weight of a cigarette is less than that of a smoking mixture in a hookah, the total amount of toxic substances emitted when smoking a hookah is significantly higher.
Plus, a lot of sugar and flavors are added to the smoking mixture. When burned, extremely harmful acetaldehyde and other aldehydes are formed. And if hookah could be smoked as often as cigarettes, then its harm would be much greater.
Hookah in the era of a pandemic
– But this is not all the harm from a hookah, – emphasizes Khalturina. – I pay special attention to the possibility of contracting many infectious diseases when smoking it. A large number of pathogenic microorganisms, bacteria, fungi were detected in the washes from the tube through which smoke and the tank (water tank) are inhaled. In Kazakhstan, after the publication of such data, hookah smoking was banned. This should be taken very seriously. Firstly, there are even proven cases of tuberculosis infection when smoking a hookah together. Secondly, this is especially true during a pandemic. – cases of COVID-19 infection through hookah are also documented. Earlier, during the outbreak of the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS; it is also caused by the coronavirus), it was also men who liked to smoke in a hookah bar that often became infected.
Cigars and pipes have value
– When cigars and pipe tobacco are burned, a lot of toxic substances are formed, no less of them than in cigarette smoke, – the expert continues. – But due to the peculiarity of smoking, such smoke is not inhaled deeply into the lungs, these substances are concentrated mainly in saliva. Many people know that this is associated with a higher risk of developing cancer of the mouth and lips. But that’s not all. Since smokers swallow saliva, the likelihood of developing all malignant tumors of the digestive tract, including liver cancer, increases dramatically. And, of course, there is a high risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as with smoking cigarettes.
Theatrical smoke versus the usual
– Electronic cigarettes have their own history – explains Khalturina. – Since there is no combustion process when they are smoked, harmful combustion products of tobacco are not formed. These cigarettes give off what is called theater smoke. It is an aerosol containing glycerin, other oily substances, glycols. It also contains the carcinogen acrolein. These volatiles are also harmful. When inhaled, they condense in the airways and cause inflammation. Over time, this can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and regular smoking also causes the same disease. Plus, aerosols can disrupt the elastin layer in the lungs, which cannot be restored. This can lead to pneumosclerosis, and then to respiratory failure. Smoking e-cigarettes significantly increases the risk of heart attacks and other diseases of the cardiovascular system.
In general, we can say that e-cigarette aerosols contain less toxic substances than tobacco smoke. But de facto, the negative impact of such smoking is very significant. The problem is that many are starting to use e-cigarettes to quit smoking. They are often presented as a means to help in this. But in the end, most of those who start smoking electronic cigarettes continue to smoke regular ones. As a result, a person receives double harm – this is the most harmful effect on the body. On the other hand, many of those who started to smoke electronic cigarettes then switch to tobacco. So do not underestimate the harm of electronic cigarettes.