At least one article in the past mentioned the use of hookah smoking.  Recently, I was talking with some college friends of a grandchild.  They were extolling the use of hookah and the safety they felt it provided from the usual detrimental effects of other smoking practices.

            Hookah smoking began in Persia during the Safavid Dynasty, although India has claimed that hookah began during the reign of Akbar the Great of the Mughal Empire.  Of course, none of this matters when considering the safety of smoking hookah, but I just offer it for interest.

            Hookah smoking involves placing some tobacco, and usually some other flavoring agents, in a bowl topped with a piece of burning charcoal. This bowl is attached to a long hollow metal rod which ends inside a glass base filled with water.  The base has at least one attached hose which the user uses to smoke.

            Smoke from hookah contains more carbon dioxide (10 to 30 times) that of cigarette smoke, owing mostly to the use of the charcoal.  There is a 6-10 fold concentration of lead, a 3 fold concentration of formaldehyde and a 10 to 200 fold increase in tar compared to cigarette smoke.  Added to these findings, is the increased occurrence of lung disease and a variety of cancers.

            Hookah smoking has been increasing worldwide, especially in the younger population. Health care workers need to be aware of the dangers of hookah smoking in order to better inform their patients.