Hello, loud people. Hookahs are not good for you.

Hookahs/hookas/water pipes/shishas/gozas are used to smoke a specific kind of tobacco that’s usually flavored. It’s the thing the Caterpillar smokes in Alice in Wonderland, and that’s probably where hookah smoking should stay. Fictionalized universes have fewer health implications than the real world, where hookah smoking is pretty terrible for you.

Hookah tobacco is usually heated by charcoals, which can produce high levels of carbon monoxide (which is poisonous), metals (which you probably don’t want to inhale because METALS) and carcinogens.

The water in a hookah doesn’t filter out the bad stuff, even though there are several loud people out there who have decided it does. Those loud people are wrong.

The smoke from a hookah still contains tar and carcinogens and can damage the lungs and heart just as much as cigarette smoke.

Even after it’s been passed through the water, which just cools it down so it’s not burning your throat on top of delivering tar, carbon monoxide and carcinogens. Layering carcinogens on top of carcinogens and making a smoky death sandwich that you can’t even eat because it’s not a real sandwich is maybe not the best choice you can make.

We should really pause here a sec just to reiterate: tar, carcinogens and carbon monoxide are all present in hookah smoke, even after it passes through the water. And because of how a hookah is used, a smoker can absorb more of the toxins (which are also found in cigarettes). An hour-long hookah smoking session is equal to about 100 cigarettes. SMOKY DEATH SANDWICH.

Cancer, heart disease and the whole herpes thing…

Cigarette smoking causes cancer. We all know it, and even packs of cigarettes are around with warning labels in case we brain fart and forget, which is unlikely but…just in case. We’ve heard from people who think hookah tobacco is less dangerous than cigarette tobacco because it’s soaked in molasses or fruit or because it’s not processed the same way as cigarettes or because it’s not made by Big Tobacco or because it has fewer additives or____. We’ve heard a lot. We disappoint a lot of people because

hookah tobacco is not less dangerous than cigarette tobacco.

Hookah tobacco and smoke contain toxins known to cause lung cancer, oral cancers, stomach cancer and even bladder cancer.

We know smoking a hookah is seen as a social thing. And we like social things, usually. But we like our arteries more because those things are going to keep us social until we’re old and sassy. Hookah smoke contains toxic agents that can cause clogged arteries and heart disease.

And JUST IN CASE you’re unconvinced by the potential for health problems down the road: Herpes. Wanting to share everything with your friends shouldn’t include infections. And, as it turns out, sharing a hookah mouthpiece with your BFFs can spread herpes, the flu, colds and other infections. Not sure what your definition of being an awesome friend is, but I think we can agree it doesn’t involve oral herpes. Yeah?

tl;dr: Hookahs are not better for you than cigarettes. They are a smokey death sandwich that can spread herpes.