By Alexa Williams
It's a popular trend that many people might believe is harmless, smoking hookah. According to NBC News, in a new nationwide survey of high school seniors, one in five used hookah, or water pipes, at least once over the past year.
"It's a cake of tobacco that is being heated by a lump of coal and you're inhaling it through a long hose with a pipe at the end," Renatdo Galindo, Patient Educator with Medical Center Hospital, said.
However, contrary to popular beliefs, the flavored tobacco can do more harm than cigarettes.
"Your typical hookah session or hang out, you can actually be smoking the equivalent of up to 100 cigarettes," Galindo said.
Smoking hookah can cause the same diseases that cigarettes can. Emphysema, COPD and even lung cancer. But that's not the only risk. Galindo said a typical hookah session can even cause the spread of STD's.
"Everyone is sitting around the hookah pipe and they're passing it around. It has led to outbreaks of herpes, you can get mono, or staph infections," Galindo said.
Health experts said hookah can be just as addicting as cigarettes. Even more alarming, Galindo said it's not regulated.