Monday, September 14, 2009
Hooked on Hookahs
I never realized before coming to Toronto just how popular hookah smoking was becoming.
A variety of sheesha bars and restaurants in Toronto and Ottawa now offer a wide and often fruity assortment of flavoured herbs for the curious smoker to experience. There is generally the view that it is less harmful and addictive than other forms of smoking and is more appealing because of its exotic apparatus and aura of mystery, but the truth of the matter is that the health effects of hookah smoking are not well known, and in the middle east the ritual is usually reserved for old men sitting around and playing cards.
Not to discredit the entire hookah movement, it is an unusual and interesting experience that I may even enjoy repeating in the future, but just because it's herbal doesn't mean it's a better alternative to tobacco (which is itself a herb), and people should not convince themselves otherwise.
Also, if you do want to go to a sheesha bar, keep in mind the sanitary factors associated with smoking, the hookah should be clean and generally comes with a plastic attachment that is discarded after use.
With these things in mind, feel free to make an informed decision about whether or not you feel comfortable smoking it. The hookah isn't going away anytime soon.
Some links of interest: