Individuals who go to hookah parlors register larger amounts in their body of benzene — a substance linked with an increased risk for leukemia, whether they smoke or not, as indicated by the results of a study reported Friday by San Diego State University.
The study is published in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention – a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. The researchers found that a benzene metabolite in the smokers’ urine who go to hookah parlors was 4 times higher than usual. It was twofold the ordinary amount for nonsmokers who went to hookah parlors.
Nada Kassem, the associate director at the Center for Behavioral Epidemiology and Community Health at SDSU said, “Hookah smoking involves the use of burning charcoal that is required to heat the hookah tobacco to produce the smoke that the smoker breathes in.”
“Besides inhaling toxicants and cancer-causing agents found in the hookah tobacco smoke, hookah smokers and nonsmokers who hang out with hookah smokers also breathe in substantial amounts of charcoal combustion-generated toxic and carcinogenic emissions,” Kassem said.
For the study, Kassem along with fellow colleagues examined levels of the metabolite, S-phenylmercapturic acid, in the urine of 105 hookah smokers and 103 nonsmokers. They acquired urine samples the morning of and the morning after members went to hookah parlor or attended a smoking event at a private home.
The scientists found that S-phenylmercapturic acid levels were also considerably higher in hookah smokers after going to the private home event.
Kassem said the results demonstrate that smoking hookah is no more secure than other sorts of tobacco smoking — and that regulations ought to reflect that reality.
“As opposed to what is believed, hookah tobacco smoking is not a safe substitute to smoking other forms of tobacco,” Kassem said. “Since there is no sheltered level of exposure to benzene, our results call for intercessions to lessen or stop hookah tobacco use, regulatory actions to cut off hookah-related exposure to toxicants including benzene, and incorporate hookah smoking in clean indoor air enactment.”