Hookah smoking appears to be the new craze among young people. Hookah cafes has taken the country by storm. But how much do we know about hookah smoking? Is it safe and is it better than smoking cigarettes? Hookahs are water pipes that are used to smoke flavored tobacco such as apple, mint, cherry, chocolate, coconut, licorice, cappuccino, and watermelon. People like hookah because they considered it smoking at the same time less harmful than cigarettes. “Hookah is also called narghile, argileh, shisha, hubble-bubble, and goza. www.cdc.gov Hookahs come in various sizes, shapes, and styles. A hookah has a head with a metal body, a water bowl, a hose with a mouthpiece. Most times hookah smoking is done with more than one person and is passed from person to person.
Hookah smoking is a health hazard. According to WebMd, “Hookah smoke contains high levels of toxic compounds, including tar, carbon monoxide, heavy metals and cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens). In fact, hookah smokers are exposed to more carbon monoxide and smoke than are cigarette smokers. As with cigarette smoking, hookah smoking is linked to lung and oral cancers, heart disease, and other serious illnesses. It also delivers about the same amount of nicotine as cigarette smoking, possibly leading to tobacco dependence. Hookah smoke poses dangers associated with secondhand smoke and smoking by pregnant women can result in low birth weight babies. Hookah pipes used in hookah bars and cafes may not be cleaned properly, risking the spread of infectious diseases.” www.webmd.com
Hookah cafes are appearing in various areas in particular around college campuses. “In Columbus, the Shisha Lounge near Ohio State University is replacing fruit juices and sandwiches with cigarette vending machines to bump up its tobacco revenue to 80 percent, employee Greg Bates said. It already makes about two-thirds of its revenue from tobacco, which was enough to satisfy the exemptions in Columbus' city smoking ban.” www.cleveland.com What about the smoking ban? Does hookah smoking qualify under Ohio law? “In Ohio, businesses that get 80 percent of their revenue from tobacco and tobacco products are exempt from the law. However, there is no smoking exemption for restaurants or places that serve alcohol, according to the law. Some businesses, including a restaurant near Ohio University and the Hookah Lounge & Café in Cleveland's Playhouse Square district, have stopped offering water pipes.” www.cleveland.com
Hookah smoking is hazardous to your health. It causes the same diseases as cigarettes, heart disease, lung disease, cancers and other respiratory ailments. Because it is water-based, experts are concerns with hookah’s reaction in the lung. Get educated with what is going into your body. Beware of the risks and take the advice of your healthcare provider and do not smoke at all.