Tuesday, December 24, 2013

OPINION: Why hookah is bad for you.

Recently, people have started flocking to Mediterranean restaurants. Are they there because of the food? Nope. Are they there because of growth in interest in belly dancers? Nope. Are they there because of the sudden popularity of falafel? Again, no. So why are Mediterranean restaurants suddenly becoming popular? The answer: hookah.
What is hookah? Hookah is an object that is used to inhale or smoke tobacco. Instead of the usual cigarettes, the smoke is passed through the water pipe. Hookah originated in the Levant region (Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, etc.), which has been common for many centuries. Only recently has it been introduced to the rest of the word and it's gaining popularity at an exponential rate. In fact, the following is getting so big that they now have separate hookah flavors.
Why are people getting hooked on hookah? Simple. They want to be "cool" or it's something that is "worth trying out". Also, it's something foreign that intrigues the public. They feel that they would be left out of the mix of they were to not do it. Lastly, they would claim that "it's safer than smoking cigarettes". Because of these reasons, many restaurants are judged based on whether they have hookah or not. It's like people judging restaurants based on whether alcohol is sold or not. What I have noticed is that Mediterranean restaurants that have hookah are bustling, while Mediterranean restaurants that don't have any hookah is nearly empty, just like most restaurants being empty because no alcohol is sold. Heck, there is one restaurant on Houston (will not tell the name) in which their food sucks but they have very good business just because of the hookah. For financial incentives, people have started opening up "hookah lounges", establishments dedicated to serving solely hookah to people. And according to one of my friends, these places are always packed with people smoking.
So, here's the cold, hard truth. HOOKAH IS THE SAME AS SMOKING. In fact, smoking hookah is a lot worse than smoking cigarettes. According to a 2005 study on hookah smoking by the World Health Organization, in an one hour hookah smoking session, people consume between 100-200 times more smoke than the average cigarette, and they actually have the same harmful substances as the typical cigarette. This can lead to diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which basically means that your lung is like a cigarette smoker's lung. It can also lead to oral, lung, stomach and esophageal cancer, and birth defects in a child if a woman is pregnant and smokes. From the mouthpiece alone, one is at risk for herpes, and tuberculosis according to the health department from the city of Alexandria, Virginia.
To make matters worse, while hookah smoking is done outside in the Levant region, hookah smoking is done INSIDE the restaurant. When you enter the restaurant, it would smell like someone took a huge dump from the bathroom, and the smell is still lingering throughout the establishment. What I don't get is that some of these places actually forbid smoking CIGARETTES, yet they allow people to smoke hookah inside. Hookah is smoking but with different flavors, so putting up the "no smoking" sign is complete hypocrisy. This fart-like smell, also considered secondhand smoking, makes nonsmokers like me susceptible to respiratory diseases, infections, and cancer.
Another important point that I want to mention is that hookah addicts often claim that there are "non-tobacco" hookahs that are herbal and that "they are much healthier than the regular hookah". Is this right? WRONG! Hookah is hookah, and smoke is smoke. The herbal ones contain tar an carcinogens and pose the same health risks as regular hookah.
So what's the best way to stop smoking. Simple. DON'T GO TO HOOKAH PLACES. I know quitting hookah is not an overnight thing, just as smoking cigarettes. Like you can start by only going to places that do not serve hookah. Or you can focus more on healthier activities such as playing sports or dieting. Or, most importantly, stop hanging out with people that encourage you to do hookah. For example, I had a friend who used to smoke. I opted to help him out. I told him to stop hanging out with people who smoke on a daily basis. Then I showed him pictures of what a smoker's lung looks like. He actually listened to my opinion, and he is no longer a smoker. It is possible for you to quit and become a better person because what is more important: respect for yourself and your body, or sucking up to hookah addicts?


The lung above represents a normal lung, and the lung below represents a cigarette smoker's lung. Because hookah smoking is a lot worse than cigarette smoking, imagine what a hookah smoker's lung would look like. Source: http://hafif.org/imaj/Togepi/smokers-lung.jpg

If you have any questions, please email me at zain.mohammed93@gmail.com or simply comment below!


1 comment:

  1. Great post I must say. Simple but yet entertaining and engaging... Keep up the good work.