Originally Posted by OCMusicJunkie
It's a toss-up honestly.
You get almost no tar, which is a huge positive. On the negative side, you get about 100x more carbon monoxide. Plus quite a bit more nicotine than a single cig, which isn't good for your heart or nervous system.
I don't see people getting lung cancer from hookah, but I can see other adverse problems down the road if you smoke all the time.
I'm 100% addicted to hookah... but the average person isn't as likely to get hooked on something that takes 15 minutes to prep, unlike a cig that takes 10 seconds to light.
Saying which is worse is tough for the simple reason that research worthy of the name about the effects of either is uncommon at best and how one smokes a narghile (and what you smoke exactly) is something that is so varied that any study will have a very hard time forming a meaningful methodology. Of course the reality is that given the current social climate relatively unbiased research simply is not possible anyway.
To me the bottom line is that smoking entails a significant health risk which is minimized by a sensible diet, a decent income, an active lifestyle, not inhaling and smoking in moderation.