Hookahs just as bad

Smoking a water pipe (hookah) may pose the same health risks as puffing on cigarettes, says an advisory note released Tuesday by the World Health Organization, the Associated Press reported.

"Using a water pipe to smoke tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarette smoking," according to the WHO document. "Contrary to ancient lore and popular belief, the smoke that emerges from a water pipe contains numerous toxicants known to cause lung cancer, heart disease and other diseases."

The UN health agency called for more research to examine the association between hookah use and a number of deadly diseases, the AP reported.

The hookah has been used for centuries in North Africa, the Middle East and Central and South Asia. Recently, it's become increasingly popular in South Africa, Europe and the United States, particularly among college students and young adults.

Hookah users aren't the only ones who may be at risk. The WHO said that second-hand smoke from hookahs appears to pose the same health risks as second-hand smoke from cigarettes, the AP reported. – (HealthDayNews)

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May 2007

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