On the surface, a hookah bar sounds like a neat way to embrace traditions of different cultures and hang out with your buds in a setting without alcohol. Hookah is a centuries old Middle Eastern tradition in which you sit around a table and share flavored tobacco from a communal pipe called a hookah or nargine.
Moms in the CafeMom Newcomer's Club were talking about hookahs versus cigarettes -- is one better than the other? -- recently. Some felt that hookahs trump cigs because the flavored tobacco lacks all the additives of traditional smokes, but others felt that both were probably comparable in terms of effects.
The bloggers at Momversation mentioned that this pastime has become increasingly popular amongst teens and college-aged students in the U.S., especially in college towns. But they quoted advice from experts who call the practice unhealthy ... a few of the reasons:
-- Just because its tobacco is flavored does not mean that hookahs are safer than cigarettes. They're also addictive (just like all tobacco products). Hookah smoke contains carcinogens, tar, and nicotine (the herbal version might not contain nicotine, but it contains carcinogens and tar).
-- Any diseases that can be spread by mouth can be spread by the hookah. Let your kids know that they're at risk for diseases like the flu by swapping spit via the pipe.
They give more reasons. To see the rest, click the full hookah bar article at Momversation.
Would you allow your teen to smoke a hookah? Do you think it's better than smoking cigarettes?
Written by Cynthia Dermody for CafeMom's Big Kid Buzz