Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hookah smokers are inhaling benzene

High levels of benzene, a chemical in crude oil and gasoline, are present in hookah smokers and nonsmokers after they attend social events where the water pipes are used, a new report says.
Benzene exposure is a known risk factor for leukemia. Since there are no safe levels of benzene exposure, interventions to prevent or reduce hookah smoking or regulate the tobacco products are needed, say the authors.
“Hookah smoking involves tobacco which is simply hazardous to the health of those who smoke it, and those who socialize or live with them,” Nada Kassem, who led the study, told Reuters Health in an email.
Burning charcoal is needed to heat the hookah tobacco to generate the smoke, said Kassem, who is the associate director at the Center for Behavioral Epidemiology and Community Health at San Diego State University.
“In addition to inhaling toxicants and carcinogens found in the hookah tobacco smoke, hookah smokers, and non-smokers who socialize with them, also inhale large quantities of charcoal combustion-generated toxic and carcinogenic emissions,” she said, adding that benzene is present in both tobacco smoke and the burnt charcoal emissions. msn

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