Hookah smoking is associated with a higher risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease as it affects heart rate and blood pressure, the American Heart Association warned.
In a new report released on Friday, experts denied the common misperception that hookah is less harmful than cigarette, saying that there is still no scientific evidence proving this claim.
"Many young people mistakenly believe that smoking tobacco from a hookah is less harmful than cigarette smoking because the tobacco is filtered through water, but there is no scientific evidence that supports that claim," said lead author Aruni Bhatnagar, a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.
"From the review of the evidence, we found that hookah smoke contains many of the same toxic chemicals that are present in cigarettes, and sometimes, these harmful chemicals are even higher in hookah than in cigarettes."
Bhatnagar explained that cigarettes and hookah have similar effects on the body, but difference lies in the fact that one is exposed to higher levels of toxic substances in a less period of time when smoking hookah.
Therefore, the report explains, toxic particles are inhaled at higher concentrations than cigarettes charcoal being burned in hookah, thus getting into the smoker's lungs and even the blood.