Many people think that smoking a hookah (water pipe) is fun, but it increases the level of carcinogens and nicotine in urine, which may in turn put users at risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.

Smoking a hookah is gaining popularity in the western world and many people visit hookah bars in groups to smoke tobacco specially made for hookahs. The tobacco come in various flavors such as mint, chocolate, cappuccino etc. and attracts countless users. Some users believe that smoking the hookah is not as harmful as cigarette smoking. However, a recent research suggests that hookah smoking can expose a user to health risks that are similar to smoking cigarettes.

A recent study that has been published in "Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention," a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), suggests that after a person spends an evening in a hookah bar smoking water pipe, the nicotine level in the urine increases 73-fold. Moreover, there is an increase in cotinine in the urine by four times and also a significant increase in carcinogens that are responsible for cancer, as well as other chronic diseases.

"There was also a substantial increase in nicotine levels, which raises concerns about the potential addictiveness of water pipe smoking and possible effects on the developing brains of children and youths who use water pipes," says Gideon St.Helen, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco. "Water pipe smoking is generally perceived to be a safe alternative to cigarette smoking, even for children and youths. Our study shows that water pipe use, particularly chronic use, is not risk-free."

For the purpose of the study, 55 healthy and experienced hookah smokers between the age of 18 and 48 years were asked to stop all types of smoking for a week.

After the end of the period, the participants were asked to give a urine sample and then asked to visit a hookah bar of their choice and smoke water pipe. The researchers then took a urine sample of the users are smoking hookah and asked them to complete a questionnaire that requred them to answer questions like time spent at the hookah bar, the number of people who shared the hookah etc.

After testing the before and after urine samples of the participants, researchers reveal that they found increased levels of nicotine and other carcinogens.

The study concludes that smoking hookah also poses health risks and can expose individuals to cancer, as well as other diseases. 

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