Hyderabad: With people becoming more aware about the ill effects of smoking, many are turning to hookah, unaware of its negative effects. More alarming is that many minors, including schoolboys and girls, are turning to hookah. Experts say that one hookah session gives around 200 puffs an hour, and if there are five people smoking, each individual gets around 40 puffs. A cigarette gives only about 25 puffs an hour.
Smoking hookah leads to psychological disorders, suicidal tendencies, rebellious nature and withdrawal symptoms if the habit is given up. Though it originated in India in the 15th century, hookah was not widely smoked here, but was widespread in the West. Research on hookah consumption began in the late 1990s in US and Mexico. Since 2005, due to extensive awareness campaigns, smoking in the Indian context became a taboo and the number of people giving up smoking tobacco has seen a rise. Unfortunately, many of these people are turning to hookah erroneously thinking that it is not harmful.
Neuro stroke specialist Dr Padma Veerapaneni said that most kids get attracted to hookah while studying in classes VII or VIII. For them going to hookah parlours is another way to hang out with friends, but they are ending up getting addicted to hookah. “In recent times hookah has become a group activity and a symbol of social status. By getting into this, people, especially kids, get addicted without their knowledge. What is worse is that hookah has become a part of marriage functions too,” Dr Padma Veerapaneni said.
A smoker inhales more carcinogens from hookah than cigarettes as one inhales much more, and for a longer duration. Smoking hookah has a wide range of ill effects on one’s skin, bones and other vital organs also. The charcoal used to heat tobacco in the hookah increases health risks as the smoke contains high levels of carbon monoxide, metals, and cancer-causing chemicals.
“It directly affects blood vessels and can even lead to clots, brain stroke, pulmonary effects and even kidney failures,” added Dr Padma Veerapaneni. Counselling for kids, parents and stringent watch by police and extensive awareness alone can end this menace....