Is hubbly bubbly as harmful as smoking cigarettes?

Hubbly bubbling or hookah smoking can be equally as deadly as cigarette smoking, if not more so, according to a new CANSA report. Contrary to popular belief, water pipes have the same health hazards as cigarettes in terms of cancer and addiction. Not only is the smoke from the hookah harmful to smokers, but it also exposes those nearby to the chemicals in the smoke. People who are exposed to smoke have a higher risk of developing cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses due to the smoke’s chemicals.

As a result of the nicotine in the tobacco and the fact that hubbly bubbly smokers inhale as much smoke in a single session as cigarette smokers do after a hundred cigarettes, hubbly bubbly smoking is likewise very addictive. Hubbly smoking has not been fully investigated until recently, but CANSA is now categorically stating that it is not a safe alternative as was previously believed.

History of the Waterpipe

Hakim Abul Fath, a physician from India, proposed the idea of using a water pipe in the 16th century. He said that smoke should be “passed through a small receptacle of water so that it would be rendered harmless.”Contrary to this traditional wisdom and current common misconception, water pipe smoke contains a variety of pollutants that are known to cause lung cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses. While some nicotine is absorbed by the water, water pipe users can still be exposed to enough of this drug to develop an addiction.

The indigenous inhabitants of Africa and Asia have historically smoked tobacco and other narcotics through water pipes throughout the previous four millennia. Distinct regions of the world have different names for water pipes, including “Narghile” in the eastern Mediterranean nations of Turkey and Syria, “Shisha” & “Goza” in Egypt and several North African nations, and “Hookah” in India.

Today, the North African, Eastern Mediterranean, and South East Asian regions have the highest rates of water pipe smoking. Since the 1990s, water pipe use has been more prevalent among many groups, including young adults and college students in the United States, Brazil, Western Europe, and Southern African nations.

The social aspects of the practice as well as the misguided beliefs that waterpipe smoking is somewhat safer than cigarette smoking seem to be driving up its popularity. In actuality, compared to smoking cigarettes, a water pipe session may expose the user to more smoke over a longer period of time.

Are hookahs safer than smoking cigarettes?

Many hookah users assume that smoking a hookah is safer than smoking cigarettes since the water is cleaner because the tobacco smoke is filtered through it. That is untrue. The same carcinogens found in cigarette smoke, including tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, heavy metals, and others, are also present in inhaled hookah smoke. Similar to cigarette smoking, hookah use has been linked to a number of health issues, including lung cancer, respiratory conditions, low birth weight, and periodontal disease. The World Health Organization (WHO), smoking a hookah exposes users to potentially higher quantities of the same toxins and carcinogens as cigarette smoke over a longer period of time than smoking cigarettes.

Smoking a hookah carries many of the same health dangers as smoking cigarettes. Nicotine, a highly addictive chemical found in other tobacco products, is delivered via water pipe smoking. Hookah tobacco is heated to a high temperature by burning charcoal, and the resulting smoke is as least as harmful as cigarette smoke. Smokers may take in more of the harmful compounds present in hookah smoke than do smokers of cigarettes due to the manner a hookah is used. While smoking an average cigarette takes 20 puffs, an hour of hookah smoking requires 200 puffs. During an average hookah session, one inhales roughly 90,000 milliliters (ml) of smoke, as opposed to 500–600 ml when smoking a cigarette. Smokers of hookah could be at risk for some of the same illnesses as smokers of cigarettes. These include lung, stomach, esophageal, oral, and lung cancers as well as reduced fertility and lung function.

Young People Drawn to Hookah

Hookah smoking rates among those aged 18 to 24 are more than 50% higher than those aged 25 to 44, and about 200% higher than those aged 45 to 64. In the previous academic year, 1.2 percent of middle school students smoked hookah. After cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco, hookah smoking ranks as the fifth most popular tobacco product among adults,hookah smokers are more likely to start smoking cigarettes than people who have never used a hookah.

“Many young people mistakenly believe that smoking tobacco from a hookah is less harmful than cigarette smoking because the tobacco is filtered through water, but there is no scientific evidence that supports that claim. However, there is evidence to suggest that hookah smoking is addictive and can lead to the use of other tobacco products such as cigarettes,” Aruni Bhatnagar, PhD, chair of the writing group for the report, said in a statement. Bhatnagar also is a professor and director of the University of Louisville Diabetes and Obesity Center in Kentucky.

Younger consumers are often drawn to hookah tobacco’s sweet and fruit flavors and vibrant packaging. Younger people may start using hookah more frequently if additives and sweeteners are added to the tobacco to mask the taste and odor of tobacco smoke. The majority of hookah tobacco does not include any health warnings, which creates the false impression that it is safe to use because hookah smoking may only be done occasionally, it may appear to be safe. According to Bhatnagar, it can be seen as less dangerous or less addictive than smoking cigarettes.

According to the Monitoring the Future poll from 2018, approximately 1 in 13 (7.8%) high school students in the United States had used a hookah to smoke tobacco the year before, and 1 in 8 (12.3%) young adults between the ages of 19 and 30 had done the same. Annual hookah smoking among students in the 12th grade rose from almost 1 in 6 students (17.1%) in 2010 to about 1 in 4 students (22.9%) in 2014 but has subsequently dramatically fallen to nearly 1 in 13 students (7.8%) in 2018.

Monitoring the Future also reveals regional and population-level variances in hookah use. The Northeast and very big cities had the highest rates of use in 2018, with 1 in 6 (15.0%) and nearly 1 in 5 (19.3%) of young adults in this age range, respectively, reporting using a hookah to smoke tobacco in the previous year. There is a significant prevalence of hookah usage among American college students, according to several modest surveys of young adults. These studies reveal a range of 22% to 40% for past-year use. Steam stones and hookah pens are two examples of the new types of electronic hookah goods that have been released. These battery-operated devices create an aerosol that is breathed in from a liquid that contains nicotine, flavorings, and other substances. The health dangers associated with electronic tobacco products, particularly electronic hookahs, are still little understood.

MYTHS and FACTS on Hookah Pipes

Myth: Smoking “hubbly” is better than smoking cigarettes because it passes through water

Fact: Water doesn’t clean the smoke.

Both “hubbly” and cigarette smoke are poisonous, containing acetone, nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, and other exhaust gases (nail varnish remover) Butane, ammonia, and toilet cleanser (lighter fuel) phenol (naphthalene-based disinfectant) (mothballs) Even trace levels of lead can harm the brain and make kids unpleasant and hyperactive. Smoke produced during a normal 45-minute session has 36 times as much tar and 8 times as much carbon monoxide as smoking one cigarette.


Myth: One gets less nicotine and carbon monoxide from smoking a “hubbly” than a cigarette.

Fact: A “hubbly” smoker takes about 100 puffs in a single session, while a cigarette smoker takes about 10 puffs a cigarette, so a session of smoking “hubbly” can give you as much nicotine and carbon monoxide as 10 cigarettes.

A typical “hubbly” session can result in smoke that is about 8 times as carbon monoxide-rich and nearly 36 times as tar-rich as cigarette smoke.


Myth: “Hubbly” tobacco is not real tobacco

Fact: It is flavoured tobacco


Myth: Smoking “hubbly” is not as addictive as smoking cigarettes

Fact: “Hubblies” is as addictive as cigarettes as the tobacco contains nicotine. Some “hubbly” smokers crave a smoke, cannot quit, and have withdrawal symptoms when they stop


Myth: Smoking “hubbly” is not harmful

Fact: Sweet flavour and pleasant smell makes it easier to smoke without coughing and has become a social activity, so people think of the “hubbly” as fun, not a dangerous habit


Myth: There are no long term effects from smoking “hubbly”

Fact: It can cause lung damage, cancer of the mouth, lips, throat, lungs and bladder, heart attack, stroke, peptic ulcers. As with cigarette smoking it can cause impotence and wrinkling of the skin. One can contract viruses, such as herpes, colds and “flu, even TB, by sharing the “hubbly” pipe

Myth: As long as I am not smoking the “hubbly” it is safe for me to be in the room while other people are smoking.

Fact: Second hand smoke is as harmful as smoking.

Children who are exposed to their parent’s second hand smoke are more likely to have lung infections than those whose parents do not smoke.

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2 thoughts on “Is hubbly bubbly as harmful as smoking cigarettes?”

  1. Article well written and easy to understand. I like that it’s based on medical facts. Many young people should read this and be aware of the dangers of smoking hubbly.


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