LOS ANGELES: Smoking hookahs are more harmful than traditional cigarettes, say scientists who found that puffing a water pipe for just half an hour can lead to the development of cardiovascular risk factors.
The study by researchers at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the US is a direct contradiction to marketing efforts claiming that hookah smoking is less hazardous to health than cigarettes.
Researchers measured heart rate, blood pressure, arterial stiffness, blood nicotine and exhaled carbon monoxide levels in 48 healthy, young hookah smokers before and after 30 minutes of hookah smoking.
The study showed that a single session of hookah smoking increased heart rate (by 16 beats per minute) and blood pressure; and significantly increased measures of arterial stiffness, a key risk factor in the development of cardiovascular conditions such as heart attack or stroke.
The increase in arterial stiffness was comparable to data seen from cigarette smokers after smoking a cigarette.
“Our findings challenge the concept that fruit-flavored hookah tobacco smoking is a healthier tobacco alternative. It is not,” said Mary Rezk-Hanna, an assistant professor at the UCLA.
Studies have shown that as cigarette use continues to decline, hookah smoking is rising, especially among youth and particularly among college students. (AGENCIES)