Hookah – the Tobacco Industry’s Exploitation of the “Cool” Factor

Just in time for World No Tobacco Day, a recent New York Times article, “Putting a crimp in the Hookah”, says action is being taken to reduce hookah use especially among college students and young adults. Hookahs are known to be the “cool,” “hip” version of smoking. According to the American Cancer Society’s latest Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Facts & Figures (2011)  (CPED), the use of hookahs (tobacco water pipes) is an emerging trend among adolesecent and young adult smokers. Also according to CPED, “current use estimates range from 10% to 20%  among college students and 10% to 17% among adolescents.”

Hookah is marketed as a safer alternative to smoking, sold with the belief that it is less dangerous because it is filtered. According to the American Cancer Society, there is no such thing as “less dangerous” when it comes to tobacco products. Tobacco is tobacco is tobacco, no matter how you try to spin it. Hopefully, serious measures are taken to prevent the use of hookahs. I say hopefully, because as long as the tobacco industry keeps coming up with ways to deceive people, we might be fighting this battle for a long time. The New York Times article is right in calling the battle against hookah “the newest front in the ever-shifting war on tobacco. “

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2 Responses to Hookah – the Tobacco Industry’s Exploitation of the “Cool” Factor

  1. This is a pretty sad post. You need to do your research before posting material like this. Hookah is not an “emerging trend” per se. It has been around for a very, very long time. It has only recently been introduced into European/America culture with a lot of attention and usage.
    Ironically, in the places where it has been smoked with intense usage for centuries, with higher levels of tobacco than anything distributed, sold or marketed in the U.S. for, the levels of cancer are not present in any significant amount that can be identified as being “dangerous” or even an agent of cancer inception or growth of cancer, and yet there is this exaggerated reaction that this “emerging trend” is dangerous and it somehow means that the tobacco industry is getting another foot in the door? Do some research on your topics please. Hookah is a tradition that has just “emerged” into culture here in America. Just because a certain industry is a party who is profiting from this emergence cannot, in anyway be used as fuel to accuse or misdirect people who read such material into thinking that Hookah is “less dangerous”, as if it could be presented as evidence to BE DANGEROUS and provoke or cause cancer. How about showing some data that actually proves the existence of the alleged danger, instead of using populations of cigarette smokers quality of life, the ones who do inherit disease from their practice and somehow use that to overlay the idea that Hookah smoking over the centuries has been dangerous or provoked cancer in middle eastern individuals. Would anyone be surprised to note that your claims of the dangers haven’t existed in any form or way as you propose in your article to any of the cultures involved with Hookah for centuries?
    So please take this, from this formal, constructive objection: if you don’t look to history, accurate and relevant data and pay attention to the quality of health of the people who have smoked Hookah more than anyone in America for a very long time, and note that cancer is not present in any radical way in relation to their practice, maybe your thesis proves itself to have no standing whatsoever. Your entire standing in opposition to the potential dangers of a popular market MUST rely on data, personal and historical information, otherwise the popularity of the market will dismiss any said opposition, because mere allegations without basis besides generalization of other similar markets in relation to your point do not have any basis in the truth of said alleged threat to the populace from Hookah or the products associated therewith.

  2. Hmm.. no response. Sad article and apparently my expectation for response was far to permissive and liberal than the author, or anyone reading this for that matter, was capable of achieving in response with respect to this fine testament of error depicted in this article publicized to the detriment of the public trust and ultimately qualifies as the definition of ‘medical un-importance’ and ‘quackery’.

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