Smoking a hookah can be more harmful than cigarettes and can cause diseases like cancers much more easily, doctors say. Doctors said that hookah smokers may be at risk for some of the same diseases as cigarette smokers. These include oral cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer, cancer of the esophagus, reduced lung function and decreased fertility. Among the initial symptoms that can cause drastic health problems due to smoking of hookah and water pipes includes pain in chest while breathing and changing color of sputum.

According to the centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an hour-long hookah smoking session involves 200 puffs, while smoking an average cigarette involves 20 puffs.“In fact second-hand smoke from hookahs can also be a health risk for non-smokers. It contains smoke from the tobacco as well as smoke from the heat source used in the hookah,” said Amar Singhal, Cardiologist.

“Since hookah involves inhaling a large amount of smoke in a short span of time, the damage done to the lungs is high and can cause wheezing, meningitis and acute bronchitis,” Singhal said. “Though a person starts with hookah occasionally, but with time they become addicted to it.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says tobacco causes over five million deaths world wide which is likely to increase to 8.4 million if the situation is not brought under control.