Know the risks of hookah smoking

Younger and younger people are drawn to smoking from a hookah, which is raising some concerns among health officials who point out that kids smoking hookah pipes are smoking a form of tobacco.

In fact, it’s tobacco heated with a charcoal/water mix which can actually increase the levels of carbon monoxide, metals and benzenes consumed.

We agree there’s reason to be concerned. While some may view this as a harmless social activity, there are definitely legal and health issues of which to be aware.

As with any tobacco product, one must be 18 to smoke the shisha, which is a wet flavored tobacco smoked in hookahs. Statistics show 18 percent of seniors surveyed between 2010 and 2012 had tried it. That survey also found a small percentage of middle schoolers smoked from a hookah.

One draw of the hookah is the flavors offered in the tobacco. Flavors like bubblegum, watermelon and gummy bear are obviously going to attract younger consumers, which then pulls them into the larger tobacco market. It’s a marketing strategy to target youngsters and target them early.

Certainly, anyone 18 or older can decide for themselves if the pleasure of using any tobacco product is worth the many risks to his or her health. But it’s important for all of us to be aware of the products on the market, and be diligent in making sure underage kids aren’t freely using tobacco products whether its smokeless options, traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes or in this latest trend, hookah.