Workout Wednesday: The Shocking Truth About Smoking Hookah

by Campus Rec

How much do you know about hookah? Answer the question below to test your knowledge!

Question: Is smoking hookah safer than smoking cigarettes?

A) Hookah is much safer. There’s no nicotine… right?
B) Hookah and cigarettes are equally as harmful.
C) More dangerous- a hookah session equals twice as much smoke as 1 cigarette.
D) Much more dangerous – a hookah session equals 100 times as much smoke as 1 cigarette

Answer: D. Hookah smoke contains nicotine, carbon monoxide, and is actually more dangerous than cigarette smoking.

hookahCelebrities like Rihanna have helped to popularize hookah smoking. 1 hookah session = 100 cigarettes

Many college students are turning to hookah for a fun, new experience. The social aspect and flavorful taste makes smoking hookah the perfect Friday night activity. Smoking hookah is also seen as more socially acceptable than smoking cigarettes. In fact, a 2011 study found that 18.5% of college students had used a hookah in the past year. And many hookah smokers believe that smoking a hookah has fewer negative health effects than cigarettes. These notions couldn’t be farther from the truth. Find out why hookah smoking could be causing the next major public health crisis.

New research has revealed the dramatic and shocking dangers of smoking hookah. Hookah smoke contains the same deadly toxins as cigarette smoke, which have been linked to lung cancer, respiratory illness, low birth weight, and periodontal disease. In fact, smoking hookah exposes the user to more smoke than a cigarette does. This is because hookah sessions last longer than smoking a cigarette, and the method of inhalation is different. When smoking hookah, the user inhales deeper and more frequently. These differences mean that hookah smokers are actually absorbing higher amounts of toxins.

The harmful effects of hookah go beyond the dangers of cigarettes. Smoking hookah may also be a cause for cancer. This is because the charcoal used to incinerate the tobacco produce smoke that contains high levels of carbon monoxide, metals, and cancer causing chemicals. Exposing yourself to these chemicals is playing Russian roulette with your health.

The dangers are real, but the awareness is limited. Currently, there are no public health campaigns against hookah smoking, like there are for cigarettes. Take action and educate yourself and your peers. Check out the information below to arm yourself with the facts about smoking hookah:

Workout Wednesday blog posts are written by UNC Campus Recreation staff members. Each Wednesday we’ll be swapping blog posts with the Tarheel Tone Up blog so that readers can view more diverse post topics that will benefit their health and wellness. Workout Wednesday blog posts can be found both here and on

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