Dispelling the misconception of hookah being safer option for smoking, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) today said that hookah smoke has higher cancerous potential than cigarette smoke.
In a statement issued here, President DAK Dr Nisar ul Hassan said that hookah smoke contains higher levels of cancer-causing chemicals than cigarette smoke thus increasing the cancer risk by several fold.
”Known as “Jajeer”, hookah is a water pipe that has since the olden times been the major form of smoking in Kashmir and the tobacco smoke of Jajeer contains several toxic agents known to cause lung, bladder, oral, stomach and food-pipe cancer”, he said.
While talking about the high percentage of carcinogenic substances that are present in tobacco,Dr Nisar said that even the charcoal used to heat the tobacco, produces high levels of carbon monoxide, metals and cancer-causing chemicals.
”According to a study conducted at SKIMS, Jajeer smokers were 6 times more likely to have associated lung cancer and in another study, published in “Cancer Epidemiology” it was found that hookah smokers breathe in benzene, a substance linked to increased risk of leukemia (blood cancer). Hookah smoking does not only affect the users but also people around them”, the statement said.
Dr Nisar also said that the second-hand smokers are at increased risk of cancer, heart and lung disease as well as adverse effects during pregnancy.
”Compared with a single cigarette, one hookah session releases 125 times the smoke, 25 times the tar, 2.5 times the nicotine and 10 times the carbon monoxide”, Dr Nisar said.
”According to “WHO”, a water pipe tobacco smoking session delivers 20 times the smoke volume of a single cigarette while as Hookah smoker inhales as much smoke during one session as a cigarette smoker would inhale consuming 100 or more cigarettes” he added.