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Dangers of Smoking Hookah

Smoking with a water pipe or hookah began centuries ago in Asia and is becoming popular in the United States. But using hookahs poses serious health risks.
It's social, it's relaxing... and it can kill you.

It's called hookah-- a water pipe used to smoke tobacco that is often flavored.    

Cigarette smoking is declining in the united states. 

But the popularity of hookah is on the rise - especially among young people - who may think it's safer then cigarettes but that's simply not true. 

"You're inhaling the same toxins that you would as if you were smoking a cigarette," says Michael Eriksen, dean of the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.

Some people mistakenly think they are breathing in nothing but water vapor, but you're actually inhaling tobacco smoke when you use a hookah. 

And likesmoking cigarettes this can lead to lung cancer, other cancers, as well as heart disease.

"You're gettting more smoke during a Hookah session than you do from smoking a pack of cigarettes," Eriksen says.

But it may not seem that way. 

The smoke passes through water before you inhale, cooling it so it feels less irritating to the lungs then other tobacco smoke. 

And like with cigarettes, hookah smoking can be addictive because of the nicotine in the tobacco. 

And there's a risk of infection when people share the same hookah mouthpiece.

The next time you want to go out with friends - be social, relax - but think twice before smoking hookah. 


(Carl Azuz for CNN's Health Minute) 


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