Carcinogen from Hookah Smoke Harmful, Even in Secondhand Exposure
the MPR take:
Even non-smokers exposed to hookah smoke at home social events show elevated levels of S-phenylmercapturic acid (SPMA), a metabolite of benzene and a leukemogen that has been associated with lymphohematopoietic cancers, in research published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. SPMA was measured in the urine of 105 hookah smokers and 103 non-smokers the morning of and the morning after attending an indoor hookah-only smoking social event at a hookah lounge or in a private home. Urinary SPMA was 4.2 times greater in smokers after hookah lounge events and 1.9 times greater after home events. For non-smokers, urinary SPMA levels increased 2.6 times after hookah lounge events but did not change significantly after home events; this indicates that non-smokers may be chronically exposed to benzene at home social events. The non-smoking participants in the home event arm were more likely to allow hookah smoking at their homes, live with hookah smokers, and have at least one hookah smoker friend. Because of the benzene-leukemia link, it is recommended that exposure to hookah smoke be minimized for smokers and non-smokers alike.
Background: Benzene is a human hematotoxicant and a leukemogen that causes lymphohematopoietic cancers, especially acute myelogenous leukemia. We investigated uptake of benzene in hookah smokers and non-smokers attending hookah social events in naturalistic settings where hookah tobacco was smoked exclusively.
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