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Does Your Teen Have a Hookah Habit?

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A new survey published in this month's Journal of Pediatrics said that one in four young adults have used a hookah-- a water pipe used to inhale flavored tobacco.


According to the Journal, hookah use is on the rise in North America, and most kids -- and their parents -- think it's less harmful than smoking cigarettes. WRONG.

The myth amongst teens is that smoking through a hookah exposes the body to less nicotine, but research shows that the exposure to the addicting toxin is the same -- if not greater, in some circumstances. And with hookah smoking, there's an added "bonus": elevated levels of smoke and carbon monoxide. Yikes.

Hookah cafes are popping up all over the country (even in the smallest cities), and teens seem to be drawn to their exotic charm -- which makes the hookah trend that much more dangerous.

Yet another reason teens are turning to this unconventional method for their nicotine fix?"It is no longer kosher to smoke [cigarettes] in public," says Jennifer O'Loughlin of the University of Montreal, the senior researcher of the study.

Moms, we want to hear from you. What do you think of the hookah craze?

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13 comments so far | Post a comment now
Jilly May 25, 2010, 7:45 AM


Peggy Gorman May 25, 2010, 7:56 AM

I have never heard of this!!
Its tough to hide and I think it will fade out soon.I hope so

Sarah Batty May 25, 2010, 8:40 AM

Just to inform you guys, most sheesha (the ‘tobacco’ used) actually has no nicotine, no tobacco, and no tar. It is usually just herbs and molasses. I have a box of it sitting on my kitchen counter right now to prove it! And, considering how large a hookah is, how expensive they are to buy, and how expensive hookah bars are, I would say that they would be less “bad” than cigarettes as you can not do it several times a day. Plus the supplies needed to run it are much harder to find. I would consider it on par with smoking a cigar from time to time. It has been done in the Middle East for centuries as a social thing and is embedded in their culture! Is smoking bad, of course, but before you over react, you should probably get ALL the facts. If you or your husband smoke a cigar with brandy from time to time, you should probably cool down a bit. Also a little food for thought, hookah bars do not allow minors in to their establishments. So your child MUST be 18 to enter. Also, most do not serve alcohol as it is in their culture not to drink.

a thorn among roses May 25, 2010, 9:01 AM

as a high school and college ministry leader, i can tell you that hookah is rising rapidly and that the kids do think it’s less harmful…but more fun bc of the fancy smancy hookah.

Terence McMahon May 25, 2010, 11:40 AM

if its so harmful why is it Ive been smoking shisha for years but dont get the same yellow teeth and black gums I get from cigz? oh well I guess tobbaco co. is mad that hookah is ruining business for them what a quagmire.

Reuben Estrada May 26, 2010, 8:43 AM

a typical hookah session can last two or three hours and involves several friends smoking from the same pipe. Now think about sharing the mouthpiece. It’s like kissing everyone in the group. Hookah exposes smokers not only to toxins and carcinogens but also other health risks such as H1N1, hepatitis, herpes, mononucleosis, seasonal flu, strep throat, a common cold and even tuberculosis.

Sarah Batty May 26, 2010, 12:23 PM

Reuben Estrada, you are right, the same pipe is being used, but in bars a plastic mouth piece is given. if you ask, you can have one each.

Also, I would like to think people aren’t stupid enough to share with someone with herpes or other disease…

Kristin May 26, 2010, 1:16 PM

We have a hookah at home. We smoke different flavored tobacco outside with our friends. It is not anywhere near what you would get from a cigarette. (We also have the plastic pieces available for them to use.)

Anonymous May 30, 2010, 4:52 AM

oh reuben

Rina August 7, 2010, 4:22 PM

Hookah is a much better alternative to anything else to smoke. There is .05 yes .ZEROFIVE percent nicotine in SOME shisha, if that. My friends and I smoke all the time, we each have our own hose and if we DO share its with our own friends that we know. No one has gotten sick from it, no one has given anyone any sickness, that is why you smoke with AND ONLY with friends. people need to actually research before they post stuff. When it say carbon monoxide they are talking about when the coal is being lit, if you smoke while the coal is being lit than there is a higher level of it, but no one smokes that because it tastes gross. do research before you post people

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Mom April 18, 2011, 10:46 PM

Is it alright for a neighbor to allow your child to smoke hookah if they are under 18 and don’t tell you? My son was under the impression it is totally legal and much safer for you, when infact the hookah allows 10 times more smoke deeper into ones lungs because of the cooling factors. Still, I want to sue the lady that has allowed my son to smoke in her house on her hookuh.

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