ó Clouds of sickly sweet blackberry smoke are billowing out
of Isaac Dossí mouth. He takes a long draw from the bubbling
hookah and passes the pipe to Kara Brick.
sprawled on cushioned wicker chairs on the patio at Kush, a
hookah bar on Greenville Avenue in Dallas. Itís a muggy
Thursday and the two are celebrating the return of Karaís
sister, Savannah Brick, from an au pair job in Europe.
is kind of cheating," Kara Brick, 28, says. "We are
all ex-smokers. With cigarettes, you really have to push
through smoking it the first time. They taste terrible and
smell terrible. Hookah is actually enjoyable. This has a
social feel and is something we can do together."
bars are a relaxed gathering place for customers to socialize
as they smoke tobacco through water pipes. Itís a hot trend
among young adults. Nearly one in five U.S. students smoked
hookah in the last year, according to a study published in the
journal Pediatrics. About 10 businesses sell hookah within a
five-mile radius of the University of Texas at Dallas.
hookah, which comes with few warning labels or health notices,
can be more dangerous than smoking cigarettes. A study funded
by the National Institutes of Health notes that a single
hookah session delivers 1.7 times the nicotine, 6.5 times the
carbon monoxide and 46.4 times the tar of a single cigarette.
is no reason to believe that a water pipe is less dangerous
than a cigarette," says Dr. Thomas Eissenberg, a Virginia
Commonwealth University professor who has conducted numerous
studies on water pipe smoking. "In fact, depending on
some of the toxins, there is reason to believe it is more
25, smoked hookah regularly at the University of the Ozarks in
Clarksville, Ark., without realizing the health risks.
was 18 the first time I smoked," he says. "I smoked
every weekend. I never considered how bad it would be for me.
Now I smoke occasionally enough that it really canít affect
me. Itís something I consider before I go to the hookah
law prohibits the sale and smoking of hookahs to anyone
younger than 18. Kevin Perlich, a spokesman at the Richardson,
Tex., Police Department, says that anyone caught smoking under
18 will be issued a citation for the use of tobacco, a Class C
misdemeanor similar to a speeding ticket.
has adopted ordinances that ban the use of tobacco products,
including water pipes, in most public places. But the law does
not restrict young patrons from entering the lounge, so
teenagers are legally able to be in the environment.
seems like it is on the upswing," says Dr. Gary
Weinstein, a pulmonologist at Texas Health Presbyterian
Dallas. "There are hookah bars in many young areas, and
itís a cool thing to do. It seems cooler than smoking a
from the University of Michiganís Monitoring the Future
survey suggests hookah usage among high school seniors in the
past year rose 21 percent.
says this is an issue because many young people do not realize
they are inhaling tobacco, charcoal smoke and other
carcinogens with each breath.
problem is, if you go into a water pipe bar and look at the
pipe you are being served, there is nothing on that pipe or on
the tobacco or in that charcoal that tells you itís
dangerous," Eissenberg says. "I have gotten this
outlook from kids: ĎIt doesnít say itís dangerous, so it
must be safe.í"
smoking a cigarette, the user lights the tobacco with a fire
and inhales the smoke. With hookah, the smoke passes from a
head containing tobacco and charcoal, through a water bowl and
into a hose for inhalation. The tobacco comes in many flavors,
ranging from chocolate to fruit to alcoholic varieties.
smoke is known to contain higher levels of lead, nickel and
arsenic, 36 times more tar and 15 times more carbon monoxide
than cigarettes, research in the Journal of Cancer
Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention shows.
because smoking a hookah requires taking harder and longer
drags, increasing the levels of inhaled carcinogens and
nicotine in the lungs.
they take a puff, the smoke is very cool and the draw
resistance is very low, so it is easy to inhale and it tastes
good," Eissenberg says. "They take dramatically
larger puffs, about 500 milliliters per puff. We are talking
about an entire cigaretteís worth of smoke in a single
longer the hookah session, the more nicotine and toxins a
person takes in.
A 45- to
60-minute hookah session can expose the smoker to about the
same amount of nicotine and tar as one pack of cigarettes,
you arenít a cigarette smoker because you know cigarettes
are dangerous and lethal, then there is absolutely no reason
to be smoking a water pipe and every reason to avoid it for
the same reason," he says. "Water pipe smoking will
kill you also."
Millard, a medical director at Baylor Martha Foster Lung Care
Center, has practiced medicine in the Middle East, an area
where water pipe smoking has been prevalent for more than 400
years. On one trip, he treated a woman from Saudi Arabia with
a hacking cough.
was smoking every night for an hour," he says. "That
is quite a lot of inhalants. I told her to get rid of her
hubbly bubbly (hookah). Itís nicotine that is the addictive
factor. It makes people want to come back for more. People can
get addicted to hookahs, and it does affect your health."
years ago, Farhad Ata opened Kush Hookah Lounge.
smoked hookah his entire life. He says he likes the nicotine
buzz and the chill environment. He knows smoking is not
healthy, but he has accepted the risks. Itís something he
says he hopes clients are aware of, too.
donít really sit down and talk with them about the health
risks," Ata says. "I think some people are already
schooled, and they just accept it. Other people donít care.
It is still tobacco, no matter what, even if it is flavored.
Your lungs are meant for air. Any type of smoke is not good
for you, whether itís cigarettes or hookah."
says: Know the risks.
a package deal, itís a dangerous thing to do," he says.
"Educate yourself. Then make the decision."