A recent study reveals that individuals who smoke hookah in their homes generate more carbon monoxide and pollution particles known as PM2.5 at levels at least double those produced by cigarettes, according to a report by Fox News.
The study states that even in rooms adjacent to where people smoked hookah, air pollution levels were much higher than in rooms where cigarettes were actively smoked.
Lead author Dr. Michael Weitzman, a professor at New York University School of Medicine, states:
There are widespread misconceptions that hookah is a safer alternative to cigarettes. Smoking hookahs at home can be terribly dangerous for the smoker, but perhaps more importantly, for children and other people living in the home.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in one hookah-smoking session, a smoker can inhale the equivalent of the smoke from 150 cigarettes.
To determine the effect smoking has on indoor environments, the researchers collected air samples from 33 homes in Dubai – 11 homes with hookah smokers, 12 homes with cigarette smokers, and 10 without smokers.
The researchers used air filters to measure the levels of carbon monoxide, black carbon and pollution particles 2.5 microns or smaller (PM 2.5) in the homes, which can penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream.
Results of the study reveal that there were between one and four active hookah smokers, with an average of 1.7, and one to five active cigarette smokers, with an average of 2.3.
In rooms with hookahs, the carbon monoxide levels averaged 11 parts per million and the PM 2.5 level was 489 micrograms per cubic meter of air. In adjacent rooms, the carbon monoxide levels averaged 5.8 ppm and PM 2.5 pollution was 211 micrograms per cubic meter.
In rooms with cigarette smoking, carbon monoxide averaged 2.3 ppm and 2.5 averaged 201 micrograms. Levels in the adjacent rooms were about half.
In homes without smokers, the carbon monoxide levels averaged 1.5 ppm while PM 2.5 levels averaged 93 micrograms.
Weitzman noted that people with heart and lung problems, people with low iron levels and pregnant women are particularly at risk for poisoning from carbon monoxide.