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Push to Limit Hookah Bars Based on Health Concerns


Although many college students believe that smoking tobacco through a hookah is safer than cigarettes, a growing number of legislators, college administrators and health groups are pushing to ban or limit hookah bars because of health concerns.

Hookahs, or water pipes, would be banned or limited under bills introduced in California, Connecticut and Oregon, The New York Times reports. Some cities in California and New York have already taken these steps, while Boston and Maine no longer exempt hookah bars from their indoor-smoking laws, the article notes.

Hookah bars feature water pipes that are used to smoke a blend of tobacco, molasses and fruit called shisha. Researchers say that contrary to the belief of many hookah smokers, the water in the pipe does not filter all the harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke. The World Health Organization (WHO) noted in a report that the smoke inhaled in a typical one-hour hookah session can equal 100 cigarettes or more. The WHO report also stated that even after it has been passed through water, the tobacco smoke in a hookah pipe contains high levels of cancer-causing chemicals.

A recent study of North Carolina college students found that 40.3 percent reported ever having smoked tobacco from a hookah, compared with 46.6 percent who reported ever having smoked a cigarette.

4 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of Ari
    Ari / June 16, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Hookahs were originally designed to smoke tobacco, not cannabis. They provide much cooler smoke than other smoking devices and also allow multiple people to smoke from the same device simultaneously. Additionally, what these studies do not take into account is that people generally do not use a hookah daily. I saw one study where participants smoked a whole bowl of shisha 3 times a day which is an INSANE and unrealistic amount of tobacco. For these studies to be accurate, they must take into account the habits of those who use a hookah on a regular basis.

  2. Avatar of Breeanne
    Breeanne / June 28, 2011 at 11:39 am

    I do not agree with your statement that tobacco should be replaced with Cannabis. Cannabis itself is also dangerous and generates large amounts of tars, carcinogens, and toxins that are then smoked into the lungs of the user. Cannabis is not a safe alternative to smoking tobacco out of Hookahs, pipes or cigars. All smoking is dangerous and can lead to fatal lung cancer, heart disease and stroke.

  3. Brinna Nanda / June 3, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    What would be much safer than using tobacco in hookahs, would be to use the substance for which they were designed: i.e. cannabis. Better on the lungs, better for the health; in fact, it is quite clear to me that if we, as a society, were truly interested in saving a half-million US lives a year, we would insist that tobacco users substitute this likely cancer-preventative in all of their consumption paraphernalia: cigarettes, pipes, chewing substances. It is a disaster of holocaustic proportions that we allow 500,000 people to die each year in this country because we don’t “approve” of that clinically safer substance. And what is more unfortunate is that our disapproval is based simply on the fact that drinking and smoking cigarettes are an ingrained part of our culture. i.e. we are used to it. And out of this insanity we allow hundreds of thousands of people to die painful, miserable deaths. Frankly, we should be ashamed.

  4. Avatar of bobbi
    bobbi / April 4, 2013 at 1:27 am

    my step-daughter was killed by a man on marijuana driving a car…hit her and killed her and dragged her body 100 feet under his car….calling it anything fancier is nothing more than marijuana…he was found immediately and taken in to test his blood and all they found was, just hope it doesn’t happen to you or yours with having junkies behind the wheel thinking it is safe as you do….b/x

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