If you’d chosen to forget that until now, don’t worry: I’d sublimated it for some time too. Hookah used to be, for me, a way of looking exotic, feeling Israeli and trying out low-risk smoking, and I went to a hookah bar about once a week for much of my sophomore year. I cooled down the coals, as it were, after that–only hitting the nargilah a few times a year–and haven’t smoked it at all since 2009.
It’s still popular, though, in Israel and with pseudo-badass Jewish kids here, even though there’s good evidence that hookah is as bad for you as cigarettes despite the fruity flavors. I know, from a New Voices article in February, that it’s also a draw on campus and that some Hillels even encourage it. And if you’re someone who knows the health issues associated with hookah and still uses it, that’s fine.
But if you’re one of those people who thinks you’re flashing your Middle Eastern flare by smoking the double apple flavor at your friend’s apartment, or if you work at a Hillel where you think your “Hookah in the Sukkah” is the best program of the year–if you’re not going to read the health risks at least read this cautionary tale (if you know Hebrew) about a 16-year old Israel girl who smoked hookah, fainted and lost consciousness because of the poisons in the tobacco. Now she’s in intensive care and may suffer neurological problems in both the short and long terms because of her faint.
And in case you can’t read Hebrew, the caption under the article’s photo says: “Hookah: it can end badly.”
From blog.newvoices.org, June 16th, 2010, by Ben Sales