March 12, 2007
Cigarette smoking is declining throughout the United States except for young people. 18 to 24-year-olds are more than three times as likely to smoke than people 65 and older and also more likely to follow a new trend of smoking waterpipes, more commonly known as hookahs.
A hookah is a device where you directly heat the tobacco, the smoke is filtered through a bowl of water, and then inhaled by a hose. It is a sweet taste and a social process that often takes 45 minutes.
Virginia ranks in the top five states with the most hookah bars. There are an estimated 200-300 throughout the country, mostly located in major cities or near universities.
Many studies are showing it has the same health risks as smoking cigarettes. The American Lung Association reports that more than 90% of beginning hookah smokers think cigarette smoking is more addictive, which research is showing may not be the case.
Risks include lung, oral, and bladder cancer, clogged arteries and heart disease.
More research is needed on the topic, but as for right now there are signs that it is as addicting and harmful as cigarette smoking.