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Hookah: Popularity, Use, and Risks

Hookah: Popularity, Use, and Risks

Angie Perry Angie Perry
7 minute read

Hookah has been the most frequently used mode of smoking for centuries. The smoking method has been an integral part of farmers' and rural populations' daily life. However, people often misinterpret it as a healthy smoking method. However, the fact is that there is no such term as healthy smoking. The sweet fragrance, appealing taste, and occasional use can be the common reason behind this interpretation.

Hookah has developed rapidly over time. It is from the good traditional hookah to the modern hookahs (also called sheesh and pipes). However, what is the cause of its immense popularity, what are the hookah uses, and is it safe? This article will answer all such questions troubling your mind.

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What Is Hookah?

The waterpipe people use to inhale the aromatic and sweet tobacco and herbs is hookah. The product has different names amongst different users and languages. The product has three main parts:

  • A tobacco chamber 
  • A water chamber 
  • Pipe allowing single or multiple users to smoke 

Hookah tobacco usually comes in fruity flavours like Apple, mint, coffee, and more. However, users also use it to inhale hasheesh, marijuana, and more. 

Hookah Popularity In Youth

A survey shows that 9.4 percent of high school youth and 4 percent of middle school students consume hookah. It depicts the delicacy of cigarette consumption and the increased hookah trend. This can be alarming, as it is equally addictive compared to cigarettes. 

The features like less regulation and diverse flavor options are the reason why is hookah popular amongst the youth. The sweet taste takes over the harsh tobacco, providing consumers with a fake sense of safety. Hence, it is the primary step towards smoking in most youth to find a healthy substitute for tobacco. 

Hookah Popularity In Adults

The false impression amongst college students and adults is that it is comparatively safer and socially acceptable than cigarettes. Hence, this leads to its growing popularity of it among college students and adults. The perception of more social acceptance is leading to growing figures of hookah smokers. Statistics show that 1 out of 8 adults aged between 18 to 30 years smoke hookah. 

Perks Of Hookah

Hookah is indeed a growing obsession among youth and adults. However, what are the perks leading to the growing obsession? Below we have some of the major benefits of the hookah are:

A Substitute To Cigarette:

Hookah or shisha is always a prominent name in the Middle East. Hence, hookah and e-cigarettes have been a major trend amongst smokers for perceived perks, like healthy and less harmful. The reason is that it has comparatively fewer chemicals and dangerous toxins. However, remember that electric cigarettes or shisha aren't healthy and provide long-term adverse effects and health complications. 

Keeps User Relax:

After all, sheesh contains tobacco, so the nicotine level helps the body calm down and relaxes the user's mind. The usual time of consumption is post-dinner or while talking to anyone. While the limited toxic level ensures the user does not deteriorate quickly. 

Clean Aroma:

Hookahs have a far more appealing aroma compared to regular cigarettes due to the presence of fruit essence and flavoring. Besides, the less toxic ensures no harsh smell but a pleasant aroma. 

Health Risks Of Hookah

Smoking also shows up with some hookah health risks. Some significant health concerns related to hookah smoking are:


The water pipe hookah produces nicotine at an equal ratio to a cigarette. Since nicotine is addictive, it leads to great health effects. For instance, nicotine reaches the brain to stimulate adrenaline levels. This hormone is vital in the body's fight-or-flight response. Hence, this leads to elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. Besides the increased nicotine concentration compared to cigarettes, hookah can be addictive. 


Hookah smokers have higher chances of developing cancers, such as lung, bladder, and stomach cancer. 

Effect On Fertility:

Sheesha, smoking affects men's and women's fertility levels. The study also reveals hookah adversely affects the ability of sperm to win in a direction and the size of the sperm in men. 

Heart Attack:

Another one of its risks is that it increases the heart rate and blood pressure, leading to greater chances of heart attack and clogged arteries. 

Effect Lung Health:

Hookah is directly associated with lung issues. Smokers might notice shortness of breath during regular tasks. Long term smoking might lead to developing pulmonary disorders and lung diseases. 

Passive Smokers:

It is equally dangerous for people in a room filled with hookahs and their smoke. Though a person does not smoke, exposure to hookah smoking health risks can lead to lung and heart diseases. 

Early Skin Aging:

There are also some side effects on the skin. The skin gets restricted oxygen levels due to its smoking leading to early skin aging. 

Hookah Vs. Cigarettes

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tobacco consumption via hookah has equal adverse effects compared to regular smoking. Some relevant points in hookah vs cigarettes are:

  • Cigarette smoke produces nicotine, while hookah needs charcoal to burn tobacco creating a toxic element like nicotine.
  • Hookah smokers are open to toxins longer than regular cigarette smokers.
  • The CDC report reveals that a cigarette takes an average of 20 puffs, while a hookah can go up to 200 puffs in an hour. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reveals that hookah produces 2.5 times more nicotine than regular cigarettes. 

How To Overcome Hookah Risks?

Users can use the subsequent measures to make it less harmful:

  • First, try to reduce its usage to a minimum, and go for health alternative activities instead. Since prevention is better than cure, try to give up the habit, as there are such ways to overcome the health risks of hookah. 
  • Do not go crazy in inhaling, take small breaks between mild inhales 
  • Moderation is key, use an advisable dose of tobacco in hookah 

Note: use below 20 grams for the standard dose or a maximum of 30 grams of shisha tobacco. However, above 30 grams can be overdosed.

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Final Verdict

To wrap up the discussion, the above content helped answer questions about hookah uses and side effects, like its popularity among the youth, and adults, hookah benefits, its risks, hookah side effects, and its comparison with cigarettes. Exposure to hookah smoke is equally dangerous, leading to serious health issues. 

At the same time, it isn't wrong to say that hookah is more socially acceptable. Yet, moderation is the key, so use recommended doses to avoid side effects. 

Ensure you keep all the given health risks, effects of shisha to a woman, and benefits before going for hookah, especially if you are a cigarette consumer. 

You can also look for healthy alternatives, like coffee, to avoid it, or moderation is the key. In case of any health conditions, seek professional medical assistance for any health issue. Also, do not consider this information the final verdict, and conduct your research before purchasing for health's sake!

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