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Water Pipes No Safeguard for Smokers

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

Hookah smokers may want to think twice before they fire up their next water pipe. A new report from the American Lung Association says hookah smoke contains cancer-causing chemicals and dangerous gases. KPBS reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

Studies show most hookah smokers think water-filtration eliminates harmful chemicals. But the Lung Association report says that's not the case. In fact, the report says hookah smoking carries many of the same health risks as cigarette smoking. The Lung Association's Debra Kelley admits more studies are needed. But she thinks the current evidence is strong.

Kelley : I don't think we need to wait for a body count for hookah. We know that the potential for deadly effects is there, we know that people are becoming addicted.

Kelley says hookah smokers often use a water pipe over a 45-minute period. She says during that time, users may inhale as much smoke as someone who lights up 100 cigarettes. Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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