Research report: Charcoal type used for hookah smoking influences CO production.
A hookah smoker who was treated for severe carbon monoxide poisoning with hyperbaric oxygen reported using a different type of charcoal prior to hospital admission, i.e., quick-light charcoal. This finding led to a study aimed at determining whether CO production differs between charcoals commonly used for hookah smoking, natural and quick-light. Our hypothesis was that quick-light charcoal produces significantly more CO than natural charcoal. A medium-sized hookah, activated charcoal filter, calibrated syringe, CO gas analyzer and infrared thermometer were assembled in series. A single 9-10 g briquette of either natural or quick-light charcoal was placed atop the hookah bowl and ignited. CO output (ppm) and temperature (degrees C) were measured in three-minute intervals over 90 minutes. The mean CO levels produced by quick-light charcoal over 90 minutes was significantly higher (3728 ± 2028) compared to natural charcoal (1730 ± 501 ppm, p = 0.016). However, the temperature was significantly greater when burning natural charcoal (292 ± 87) compared to quick-light charcoal (247 ± 92 degrees C, p = 0.013). The high levels of CO produced when using quick-light charcoals may be contributing to the increase in reported hospital admissions for severe CO poisoning.
Medford, MA; Gasier, HG; Hexdall, E; Moffat, AD; Freiberger, JJ; Moon, RE
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