Even light hookah smoking can cause changes in airway cells, a new study suggests.
“With hookah, smoking a bowl is the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes,” study leader Dr. Ronald Crystal, chairman of the Department of Genetic Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, told HealthDay.
“When you talk to the hookah smokers, however, there’s a general belief that it is safer than cigarette smoking. We looked at the airways, lower respiratory tract, and in the blood vessels and found biologic abnormalities in all of those who smoked hookah,” he said.
The study included 21 young adults who had used hookah for fewer than five years, and smoked about three bowls a week.
They were compared with 19 peers who were not hookah smokers. The researchers examined cell samples from participants’ airways. They found hookah smokers had changes in the cells lining the lungs. They also had elevated...
Hookah smoking is growing increasingly popular among teens and young adults, but there are many questions still unanswered about its safety, according to an expert who is studying the issue.
These questions include long-term effects of hookah smoking, the potential health effects for the many users who only smoke hookah a couple of times a month, and whether hookah users are more likely to switch to cigarettes, according to Scott E. Sherman, MD, MPH, Associate Professor in the Department of Population Health at the NYU Langone School of Medicine.
He talked about hookah smoking as part of the CASAColumbia Addiction Speaker Series, featuring leading experts in the addiction and substance abuse field.
“If hookah smoking leads to regular smoking then we have a really serious problem on our hands,” he said. Dr. Sherman plans to study that question in a long-term study of students at the City University of New York....