ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- A Mercy Hospital doctor told FOX 2 News that smoking Hookah is "just as bad" as smoking cigarettes.
Hookah pipes use flavored tobacco. The smoke flows through a water filter.
Dr. Dayton Dmello said the water filter in a Hookah pipe does not prevent people from inhaling nicotine.
"It only blocks less than five percent of nicotine," he said. "And you also have to remember that most people have Hookah sessions that last much longer than it takes to smoke a cigarette."
Hookah bars like the Nara Cafe are becoming more popular in the St. Louis area, according to avid Hookah smoker Wallace Pryer.
"It is mostly young people, but I enjoy it because it relaxes me," he said.
Pryer said he started smoking Hookah after a trip to Israel.
"I tried it and I did not think I'd like it, but I really did," he said.
Pryer said his favorite flavor is double apple.
"You just put the flavored Tobacco in the Hookah pipe and smoke," he said.
Wallace said he does not smoke cigarettes, and he also said that he does not think smoking Hookah is healthy.
"I think some people think that it is, but I know it is not," he said. "This is just a phase I am going through."