Houston, Tobacco smoke from a hookah may form blood clots, and can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke, according to a first-of-its-kind study on mice.
The study, published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, found that tobacco smoke from a hookah caused blood clots to form within an average of about 11 seconds, compared to five minutes for clotting without an exposure.
“Hookah smoking, which is becoming more popular in Western countries, is perceived as less harmful than cigarettes, yet hookahs carry a toxic profile that is thought to be comparable or to even exceed that of traditional cigarettes,” said study co-author Fadi Khasawneh from The University of Texas at El Paso in the US.
Based on earlier studies, Khasawneh said the smoke emitted from one hookah tobacco smoking episode contained significantly more harmful chemicals compared to a single cigarette.
In the study, the scientists exposed mice to hookah smoke from a machine that mimicked real-life smoking habits.
The smoking machine used 12 grams of commercially available, flavoured tobacco.
These included tobacco, glycerin, molasses and natural flavour along with nicotine and tar.
Comparing the platelet activity among the exposed and the unexposed mice, the researchers found that hookah smoking was as unhealthy — if not more so — than traditional cigarettes.
“Smoking a hookah, cigarettes, e-cigarettes or other forms of tobacco all increase your risk for heart disease and stroke,” Khasawneh said.