Indiana University Bloomington

Indiana Prevention Resource Center (IPRC)

Hookah Smoking

Hookah lounges are popping up all over in college towns and urban settings in the US. These lounges provide customers with hookah pipes and shisha, flavored tobacco, as the main attractions. Hookah pipes are originally from India and are water pipes with one or multiple stems for smoking.

Shisha comes in many different flavors. It is typically 30 % tobacco and 70% flavoring. These flavoring components can be dried fruit or pulp, natural extracts, and artificial flavorings. Conducting a search for “shisha” or “hookah tobacco” online will show sites with over 30 different flavors for sale.

The lounges provide patrons with the opportunity to socialize with friends and participate in a communal activity. There has been little research done to evaluate the health effects of hookah smoking. Typically individuals who smoke hookahs do not smoke them daily, but instead use them once or twice a week. However, because the smoke is cooled by using the water pipe they are able inhale a larger volume of smoke and hold it in their lungs for a longer time. A hookah is also normally smoked for forty-five minutes to an hour. A hookah smoker is exposed to many if not all the risks that a cigarette smoker is exposed to. There are shisha’s available that are tobacco free. These herbal blends do not have nicotine but inhaling any form of smoke can have serious health consequences.

By Aaron D. Jones,   7/10/2008