Hookah may harm health
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 17:03
Smoking tobacco is a common practice amongst men and women of all professions, trades and colleges. One of the more recently popular methods of smoking tobacco in America is smoking from a hookah.
A hookah, also know as a water pipe, is a device used to smoke tobacco. A ceramic bowl is filled with tobacco, which burns when coals are placed on top. The smoke produced is filtered with water, which turns the smoke into water vapor and allows the smoke to be less harsh when inhaled.
Smoking from a hookah is not illegal. It is simply the act of smoking different flavored tobacco out of a water pipe .
“Cigarettes are for nervous people, competitive people, people on the move. When you smoke from a hookah, you have time to think. It teaches you patience and tolerance, and gives you an appreciation of good company,” according to hookahcompany.com.
In Fayetteville, “The Fez” is a downtown hookah bar right off of Dickson Street. Upon entering the building and walking down a flight of stairs, there are lounge areas with pillows and comfortable seats surrounding a table.
Most hookah bars, such as this one, can hold several groups at different tables. Someone from the group can place an order for their desired tobacco flavor such as blueberry, vanilla or almond, just to name a few. The hookah is either in place at the center of the table or delivered to the table with the tobacco and fresh burning coals to burn it down.
A smoking session usually lasts about as long as the coals do, which can be anywhere from 30-45 minutes. Customers can even order drinks or snacks as they lounge and smoke.
A typical one-hour hookah session involves inhaling 100 to 200 times the volume of smoke inhaled from a single cigarette, according to studies by the Center for Disease and Control Prevention.
In a study by the American Lung Association (ALA), many hookah smokers consider the smoke to be less harmful than the smoke from cigarettes. While the setting for smoking hookah is meant to be a relaxing and fun activity to share with friends, people should be aware that the harms of tobacco, like in cigarettes or chewing tobacco, are still present. Both cigarette and hookah smoke contain nicotine, which is an addictive drug that is found in tobacco.
Jonathan Stidman, an ASU Alumni, and his wife Katie smoked at a hookah lounge last week when they were on vacation in Miami, Florida.
“I always feel dizzy when I do it, which is also why I like to do it,” Katie said. “My stomach hurt afterwards, but I don’t know if that was from the hookah smoke or from being out in the sun all day,” Katie said.
“My wife and I like it because it tastes good. We like to play with the smoke by making smoke rings,” Jon said.
“We know it’s bad for us but it is fun and relaxing. It is probably not the best thing for you, but it’s definitely not one of the worst things for you either,” Katie said.
Jackson Spencer, a Jonesboro native and senior graphic communications major at ASU, enjoys the friendly atmosphere smoking hookah creates.
“It’s social because it’s something that you pas around,” Spencer said. “There’s a lot of variety with smoking hookah. There’s also no filter on it so you get a buzz from it.”
In 2006, the Center for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) said that an estimate of 300 hookah cafés up and running in the U.S., and the numbers continue to grow.
Studies of Health Effects from hookah as cited by the (CDC):
-The charcoal used to heat tobacco in the hookah produces high levels of carbon monoxide, metals and cancer-causing chemicals.
-Even after it has passed through water, the smoke produced by a hookah contains high levels of toxic compounds, including carbon monoxide, heavy metals and cancer-causing chemicals.
-The irritation by tobacco juice products is likely to be greater among hookah smokers than among pipe or cigar smokers because hookah smoking is typically practiced more often and for longer periods of time.
Even though there are proven health concerns for smoking hookah, it is continuing to spread as a leisure activity amongst the youth.