Health Plus: Smoking hookah just as addictive as cigarettes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Smoking hookah just as addictive as cigarettes

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Some say it's a social scene, others say it's all about the taste and variety of flavors. Health experts, however, say smoking hookah is just as addictive as smoking a cigarette.

A typical session of smoking hookah lasts about an hour, and starts with a piece of charcoal heating the top of the hookah. Then, smoke is inhaled through a mouthpiece.

Jackie Preston is a community prevention educator at Pathways Behavioral Services in Waterloo, and said hookah is growing in popularity.

"We tend to see hookah bars around college populations or concentrated close to high schools," Preston said.

She explains smoking a cigarette consists of roughly 20 puffs, while there are nearly 200 puffs in a session of smoking hookah.

"All of those chemicals, which include nicotine, tar, a lot of cancer-causing chemicals, even heavy metals are being inhaled even more deeply into the lungs and present an even greater health risk."

Smoking hookah poses additional dangers, like infection from sharing a mouthpiece while smoking.

Preston said health specialists are continuing to research hookah, and its effects. But the bottom line is, it's not safe.

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