f you are over thirty years old, you might not know what a Hookah bar is. I know I didn’t. I have seen ads for them, and there is an establishment on a local road that has a sign denoting that they have ‘hookah’, but I had no concrete knowledge of ‘hookah.’ Looking at the other things that the store sells (tattoos, lingerie, smokes) I figured it was not something that I was interested in. (I know, everyone needs lingerie, but I don’t buy mine at a store that has neon pink signage that offers ‘smokes.’)
Anyway, in reading my local paper, I find out that a ‘hookah bar’ is a place where people go to smoke. The smoke is considered less dangerous than cigarettes because the smoke is filtered through water. I confess that I am at a loss as to how this is done, not being a smoker of any kind myself. However, what concerned me is the fact that this type of smoking is not LESS dangerous, but is, in fact, MORE dangerous.
Apparently, “a typical hookah session can last up to an hour, with smokers typically taking long, deep breaths, the smoke inhaled can equal 100 cigarettes or more, according to a 2005 study by the World Health Organization.’
The study also found that the water in hookahs filters out less than 5% of the nicotine. Moreover, Hookah smoke contains tar, heavy metals, and other cancer causing chemicals. An additional hazard: The tobacco in hookahs is heated with charcoal, leading to dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide.
‘Teens and young adults are initiating tobacco use through these hookahs with the mistaken perception that the products are somehow safer or less harmful than cigarettes,’ said Paul Billings, a vice president of the American Lung Association.’ (Houston Chronicle, June 4, 2011)
Now that I have the scoop, I am not surprised that the word ‘hookah’ sounds like someone coughing up a hairball…
Until next time,