Is Nargileh harmful? Water pipes, (also known as nargileh or argileh) are widely available around Lebanon in cafes, restaurants and homes, and smoking them is quite common. Many people have misconceptions about water pipes, and believe they are less harmful than cigarettes. They believe the water acts as a filter and rids the pipe of toxins and chemicals, deeming it harmless. The fact is, smoking Nargileh is a lot more harmful than smoking cigarettes. The concentrations of smoke that are inhaled are much larger so smoke still enters the lungs after taking a puff, even if the person is not inhaling it. Water reduces the taste of burning coal used to burn the tobacco, but it does not filter out all the harmful chemicals.