Middle Eastern cultures have smoked Nargila / Hookah for centuries. A rather groovy-looking pipe is filled up with a flavored tobacco, called shisha, which is burned and passed through a tank of water which supposedly filters the smoke. But it doesn’t.
According to the National Institutes of Health, a single session of hookah smoking “delivers 1.7 times the nicotine, 6.5 times the carbon monoxide and 46.4 times the tar of a single cigarette.” In other words, this is one of the most toxic things you could do to your body in the span of about 60 minutes.
This awful addiction, as Dr. Siegel indicates, is made worse by the fact that users often do not change the mouthpiece as they pass the inhaling device around for all to enjoy. Any disease transmitted by kissing — e.g., mononucleosis, HPV, strep throat, colds, influenza, etc. — can also be transmitted by sharing mouthpieces.
So, why is hookah becoming so popular? The tobacco is sweet and smells good, and people are under the very false impression that hookah is healthier than regular cigarettes. But, as just described above, it is actually many, many times worse.