Can Hookah Pipes be as Harmful as Cigarettes?


| 2 Comments

Many college towns and various other places around the country and the world are now experiencing the new trend of smoking hookah.  Commonly known as Shisha in Arabic and South Asian countries, where it got it's origin or as water pipes in America and Canada, this new form of getting "high" has become rather popular.  Even our own little State College has two hookah bars; Chronic Town and Chrome.  

 

What exactly causes people to be attracted to hookah?  Well first for those of you who are not completely aware of what a hookah is, here is a detailed description.  The vase is filled with water. Then the bowl is covered with, generally, a foil sheet. Next, little hot coals are placed on top of the foil, causing the tobacco in the bowl to heat up and smoke. Sucking through the hose draws heat on the tobacco and helps accelerate the heat transfer.

The smoke is drawn down through the down stem and underwater when you suck on the hose. The smoke rises above the water in the vase and into the opening. The smoke makes its way through the port and into the smoker's mouth.

hookah_components.jpg

The hookahs are usually flavored to give a more attractive taste.  The reason smoking hookah has become such a popular activity in the last couple of years is because it is more a social activity than anything else.  The entire environment and vibe of going to smoke water pipe is meant to be a social event.  For instance,  most hookah bars are dark, cozy rooms with usually futons or low, comfortable chairs around tables.  People usually go with a group of 2-8 people and stay for around 40 minutes.  Hookah is legal in the United States for people 18 and over (although some hookah bars that allow alcohol require smokers to be 21).  For college kids especially, hookah is a fun, cheap, and social activity that you can get "messed up" from, but not necessarily in trouble for.  

 

The feelings obtained from hookah are less like marijuana and alcohol but still let you achieve a high.  Because hookah uses tobacco (although not in amounts as great as when chewing) the affects are similar on a smaller scale. "The nicotine in tobacco smoke travels quickly to the brain, where it acts as a stimulant and increases heart rate and breathing"  

 

In my next blog I will write about all the harmful effects of smoking hookah and how contrary to popular belief, it is as unhealthy as smoking cigarettes.

2 Comments

In my own opinion, I think hookah is pointless. I think your better off smoking cigarettes. Hookah is very popular and a lot of my friends do it because they like it, but I'm not a fan. I don't think its safe because it can be linked to similar causes that cigarettes do. This article talks about how hookah is just as harmless as cigarettes: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hookah/AN01265

Personally I don't see an appeal in hookah or cigarettes, you don't gain anything from doing either so I really don't see the point. I think the main appeal with hookah is usually linked to its biggest misconception, which is that there isn't any tobacco or that it is a better/healthier option when compared to smoking a cigarette when in reality it is just as bad. In fact in comparison to a single cigarette hookah smoke has higher levels of arsenic, 36 times more tar, and 15 times more carbon monoxide!
This hookah fact and more can be found at this website, http://www.health.umd.edu/sites/default/files/Hookah%20Brochure-%20Final_0.pdf
So put the hookah pipe AND the cigarette down because neither of them are worth it!

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