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I recently stopped smoking hookah although i still go to hookah bars with friends just to converse and be in the company of friends. I have recently had allergic reactions to hookah after smoking for almost 2 years. I have been taking zyrtec my doctor perscribed to me but i can't help but feel worried. Sometimes i feel like i can't breathe as well as i used to. I am a fairly healthy young man and i work out atleast 2-3 times a week (haven't done cardio for a couple of months) My first bad reaction was when i couldn't fall asleep because it was harder for me to breathe. My doctor tells me that the smoke irriates my lungs and that they tend to almost close up. He tells me i should be fine but i have this lingering fear of lung cancer (another reason why i quit) I am always scared to death of the possibility of it. I do not cough up blood nor do i feel fatiuge or any others symptoms. Just shortness of breathe butt only after being around hookah. I know i should stay away from hookah but i tend to always wind up in a room with it somehow. I am terrified of the possibilty of lung cancer. How common is lung cancer among current and former hookah smokers? I have tried to google but all the forums and webisites are very inconclusive. Please help.

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Hello Esai,

According to the Centesr for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, the health risk for smoking hookah is the same as smoking cigarettes.  Charcoal is used to heat the tobacco which generates carbon monoxide, metals and other cancer causing agents.  Just because the smoke is passed through water doesn't mean that toxins have been remove.  It still has high levels of toxins.  There are molecules in hookay that are known to generate lung, bladder and oral cancers.  The juice from the tobacco increases the risk for oral cancer. This doesn't mean you'll get cancer but you have an increased risk.  The smoke juice you get from this irritates cilia in the airways and that makes it difficult for you lungs to clean themselves that is to say remove debris and mucus.  It's not surprising you would have trouble breathing.   I don't know how long you smoke hookah but I believe the rule of thumb is:  for every year you smoke it takes 5 years for lungs to recooperate.

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