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Are Hookah Water Pipes as Hazardous to One's Health as Cigarettes?
Individuals who smoke tobacco using hookah water pipes may be exposing themselves to high levels of nicotine, cotinine, and nitrosamines such as NNAL and NNK, according to a study published in the May 16, 2014, online edition of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention (Nicotine and Carcinogen Exposure after Water Pipe Smoking in Hookah Bars). The study was supported by the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program.
For the study, researchers recruited 55 healthy, hookah smokers, ages 18 to 48 years. These participants were instructed not to smoke tobacco products for a week. After this time period, the researchers gathered a pre-exposure urine sample and instructed the participants to smoke tobacco using a hookah device at a hookah bar of their choice. Participants then provided a post-exposure urine sample as well as information on their smoking session, including total time spent smoking, the number of tobacco bowls smoked, and the number of shared users. They were also asked to provide a second post-exposure sample that was collected the following day.
The researchers found that post-exposure urine of participants had an average 73-fold increase in nicotine; a 4-fold increase in cotinine; and a 2-fold increase in NNAL, a metabolite of NNK. Analysis of the second post-exposure urine sample revealed that levels of nicotine, cotinine, and NNAL remained elevated.
The study's findings suggest that smoking tobacco using hookah devices exposes users to the same health risks associated with smoking cigarettes, such as heart disease and lung cancer. The authors noted several limitations with the study, including exposure to secondhand smoke and possible cigarette use among the study’s participants.
Cerilliant offers a wide range of certified solution standards for major tobacco alkaloids, metabolites, and nitrosamines including NNN, NNK, NNAL, NAT, and NAB in addition to native and stable labeled internal standards of nicotine, cotinine, nornicotine, trans-3’-hydroxycotinine, and anabasine. These reference standards are suitable for analytical applications in clinical toxicology, clinical and diagnostic testing, nicotine screening, and environmental monitoring. Cerilliant is accredited to ISO Guide 34 and ISO/IEC 17025, certified to ISO 13485 and ISO 9001, and is compliant with ISO 17511 and ISO 15194. Click on the link below to view our complete listing of nicotine/tobacco certified reference standards:

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