The tradition of smoking water pipe or hookah existed in the Middle East for centuries; however it turned to become a dramatically popular tendency in the United States and other countries during the last couple of years. The water pipes gained an enormous popularity among the youth. Yet, health activists state the hookah pipes become so popular due to several myths about the safety and reduced health risks of those devises as compared to other tobacco products.
Therefore, we decided to find out everything about hookah in order to confirm or dethrone the myths related to smoking hookah. Upon the arrival to the Smoke & Grill Lounge, we understood that despite rather difficult economic times, the lounge has been packed with people, with the majority of them being young adults, all dragging on their pipes and delivering a lot of nice smelling smoke. “It feels great, and helps get a relaxation after a hard-working day with my friends, while chatting and joking,” confessed Chris Morrison, an inveterate hookah lover.
The Smoke & Grill Lounge owner Howard Young admitted that his business is facing a terrific boom, thanks the introduction of hookah to the menu. He said the lounge is flooded with people almost every day, and they prefer hookah with tea, instead of beer or sodas. He added that hookah changed lifestyle of many people, after its first appearance just several years ago.
Smoking this Arabic water pipe is rather easy. The flavored tobacco is put at the end of the pipe in a special small tube that is heated by coals. The pipe is connected with a bowl filled with water and a hose. The smoker breathes in through the hose, thus, having a puff of tobacco.
According Howard Young, they have up to 60 flavors of tobacco and try to invent a new one by mixing different flavors each month. Exactly those flavors, which leave a pleasant aftertaste, allured many teenagers to smoking hookah, although the Smoke & Grill Lounge owner stated that teenagers under 18 are not permitted to enter his lounge. The fashionable of smoking hookah keeps growing among teens.
Chris Morrison, a student of the local university admitted that all of his friends smoke hookah. He said that it is not about smoking, it is all about communication, because he has not seen people smoking hookah alone. He named smoking hookah a social habit since it gathers people together, makes them happy and keeps away from unhealthy habits.
Morrison’s friend Richard Sykes said that he used to smoke cigarettes when he was 16 but gave up switching to hookah, which he has been smoking up to four times a week with his friends while chatting, watching baseball or basketball or playing video games.
Sykes named hookah as the “cigarette of the young generation.” He mentioned that his parents and relatives have been smoking for many years and all of them started puffing when they were teenagers since it was fashionable and everybody was smoking. But currently, when cigarettes have lost their popularity because of enormous prices, bans and health concerns, it has been a high time to find something new. Thus, hookah appeared and it becomes more and more popular each day.
The booming popularity of hookah became a major headache for health advocates. Elizabeth Caldwell, director of Nevada Tobacco-Free Kids office said that anti-smoking groups are partly responsible for the growing popularity of hookah among teenagers since they have been doing their best to persuade people and especially minors that cigarettes are hazardous for health, therefore, people simply switched to hookah, thinking that it would be a safer and healthier alternative of smoking. And the latter is absolutely not true.
Indeed, the recently published researches have showed that hookah tobacco contains a lot of the same additives as in regular cigarettes that have been related to health complications and addiction. Prof. Robert Bain of Georgia Institute of Technology’ School of Chemistry said that the studies demonstrated that one session of hookah smoking could be equaled to almost 100 regular cigarettes, because usual cigarette needs an average of 9 puffs to be smoked and one hookah can be smoked for up to an hour with almost 20 puffs. Therefore, it means that hookah is even more dangerous for health than conventional cigarettes.
However, teenagers like Chris Morrison and his friends believe that hookah was not as hazardous as cigarettes, and in addition it leaves a pleasant fruit taste. Meantime, scientists state that fruit flavor is used to mask the hazardous truths of hookah tobacco. Robert Bain says that tobacco used for smoking hookah is just another type of tobacco, regardless of the flavor. It is smoked and that is the major issue.
Although the majority of hookah fans believe that the water contained in the bowl is used to filter the tobacco, making it free of hazardous components, experts stated that is a terrible lie since the water does not clean the smoke that is still going to the lungs.