New York, May 31 (IANS): Are you a frequent visitor to one of those hookah bars that have mushroomed in the city? Beware that those closed spaces have elevated levels of carbon monoxide and nicotine – diminishing the air quality to a great extent.
In an analysis of air quality in seven Baltimore hookah bars, researchers found that airborne particulate matter and carbon monoxide exceeded concentrations previously measured in public places that allowed cigarette smoking and that air nicotine was markedly higher than in smoke-free establishments.
“There is a mistaken notion that tobacco smoking in a water pipe is safer than cigarettes,” said Patrick Breysse, a professor from the institute for global tobacco control at the Johns Hopkins University’s cschool of public health.
“Our study found that waterpipe smoking creates higher levels of indoor air pollution than cigarette smoking, placing patrons and employees at increased health risk from second-hand smoke exposure,” Breysse cautioned.
Indoor airborne concentrations of PM2.5 and carbon monoxide were markedly elevated in Baltimore waterpipe cafes, confirming that waterpipe smoking severely affects indoor air quality.
Air nicotine concentrations were also elevated and markedly higher than levels previously found in smoke-free bars and restaurants.
“We need to educate users about the hazards of water pipe use and tobacco control policies need to be strengthened to include water pipes,” said Christine Torrey, a senior research specialist in the department of environmental health sciences at Johns Hopkins.
The study appeared in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.