Should Hookah Lounges Be Banned?

News 2011/06/02 19:00:00
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You knew it was too good to be true. A cool bar where you could chill out, plop some flavored tobacco into a giant bong-looking device and share a tasty smoke with your friends. It had the allure of doing something illegal with none of the repercussions.

But, like cell phones, BPA-free plastic and the sun, it turns out hookah bars just aren't that safe. For years, college kids and urban hipsters have been loading up on the Middle Eastern water pipes with an aromatic blend of tobacco, molasses and a fruit known as shisha. Now, The New York Times reports that the myth that hookah smoke is less dangerous because it is filtered through water is just that and college administrators and health advocates are focusing on the trendy device as the new front in their war on tobacco.

Lawmakers in California, Connecticut and Oregon have introduced bill that would ban or limit hookah bars and Boston and Maine have ended exemptions to their indoor-smoking laws that had allowed hookah bars to thrive. Researchers say that many young people are misled by the fruity, sweet smell of the hookah smoke, noting that the amount consumed in an hour-long session is equivalent to 100 cigarettes. Oh, and the water in the pipes only filters out about 5 percent of the nicotine, so there goes that excuse.

Then there's the fact that the tobacco in hookahs is heated by charcoal, which leads to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, not to mention the tar, heavy metals and other cancer-causing chemicals in the hookah smoke itself. But wait, there's more!

In addition to studies that have linked hookah use to many of the same diseases linked to regular smoking – lung, oral and bladder cancer, clogged arteries and heart disease – the communal nature of the sessions has also been linked to the spread of tuberculosis, herpes and other infections.

Outraged users have already started a number of Facebook groups decrying the bans, with some calling for a bar on cigarette sales first.

Do you think hookah bars are safe?
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Top Opinion

  • Joe Nebelski 2011/06/02 19:46:17
    Joe Nebelski
    Why in the hell would you ban Hookah bars??? All of you non smoking advocates can go "F" yourselves!!!! This is not a place for nonsmokers. It's a place for smokers, period. 80% of there business is based on tobacco sales and consumption. You don't see non drinkers going to a bar and complaining that they serve alcohol do you?? Feakin retards.......I can't stand this country anymore!!!!

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  • Alexfira 2013/02/02 14:07:30
    I love shisha's got one at home 2
  • Rob 2011/06/15 09:13:15
    Like them or hate them its peoples choices to do what they want with their body. You shouldn't kill peoples enjoyment just because you don't like it. Remember you can always avoid these places if you dislike hookah.
  • Arrogant 2011/06/09 09:14:56
    These "experts" need to shut up.
  • stevegtexas@aol.com 2011/06/07 14:22:04 (edited)
  • Broken 2011/06/06 06:21:02
    The anti-smoking Nazis will not rest until everyone who ever smokes is sent to the re-education camps and becomes a good little non-smoker like them.
  • Chaya2010 2011/06/05 17:20:42
    They are banned here in the UK ie: its illegal to smoke indoors.
  • Arizona1950 2011/06/05 15:37:17
  • **Bessie** 2011/06/05 15:27:22
    Can I go there and smoke my cigs?
  • Minarchist 2011/06/04 01:36:04
    Demand economics should determine if it should exist or not. It is the choice of the consumer if they want to do this or not.
  • ReasonOverFaith BN - 0 2011/06/03 16:05:02
    ReasonOverFaith BN - 0
    Absolutely not! You don't want to go to one, then don't. But don't take it away from the people who want to. There is no tar in hookah tobacco and very little nicotine, it is not nearly as dangerous as cigarettes.
  • stevegt... ReasonO... 2011/06/08 14:32:50
  • LORROL 2011/06/03 15:23:06
    No more dangerous than cigar bars and smell much better.
  • stevegt... LORROL 2011/06/08 14:33:53
  • LORROL stevegt... 2011/06/08 15:57:31
  • Slade 2011/06/03 14:43:29
    Since when is it the governments duty to stick it's nose in to peoples personal choices. If you don't smoke stay out of the Hooka bars. The nanny state is out of control in this country.
  • stevegt... Slade 2011/06/08 14:35:33
  • Slade stevegt... 2011/06/08 15:02:28
    Exactly the only one I answer to about going to a strip club is my wife, not the thought police. Since we both have the same taste in women it's all good.
  • Shelo 2011/06/03 14:35:08
    I'm so sick of stories about government, whether state or federal, attempting to legislate something away. *facepalm*
  • stevegt... Shelo 2011/06/08 14:36:43
  • Wayne 2011/06/03 14:17:09
    Personally I would ban them for myself. I would not be one to tell others what they can and can not do, that would be for the liberals to do.
  • ronbo 2011/06/03 14:14:09
    As long as the patrons are adults and nothing illegal is being smoked it shouldn,t matter.
  • Crazy Canuck 2011/06/03 13:35:51
    Crazy Canuck
    Do it at home. In sweet home Ontario you can't smoke indoors period unless its a private residence.
    Trick is to get a vapourizer lol
  • mike j 2011/06/03 13:20:02
    mike j
    OK here is the fix , smoke something that does not contain that evil ingredient nicotine , and all is well at this otherwise social gathering place
  • largo1 2011/06/03 13:01:33
    If you don't want to smoke then you don't have to go in there! Enough trying to tell people how to live their lives. I bet this wouldn't even be a discussion if the big tobacco companies had something to gain from these bars.
  • Anon 2011/06/03 12:42:52
    You know, I'd love to see the actual data from these so-called scientific studies that they do on these things before they decide they are unsafe. Or at least know exactly what the study involved so I can decide the quality of what they did.

    "the amount consumed in an hour-long session is equivalent to 100 cigarettes." - that sounds like bollocks. I swear that these "studies" have the sole purpose of letting politicians ban whatever they feel like.
  • Crazy Bill 2011/06/03 12:33:17
    Crazy Bill
    No, and not because the hookah bars are safe, but just because I don't want to see any more laws banning anything on the books. Some day people might get to put something other than tobacco in those pipes.
  • Cliff 2011/06/03 12:28:23
  • DavidK 2011/06/03 12:23:47
    Any bar filled with liberals is a "hooka bar". Plenty out there.
  • srini 2011/06/03 11:35:53
    Other than the "with foot" ban which can be exercised by the possible customer.
  • John "By God" American 2011/06/03 10:47:37
    John "By God" American
    I wish the jerk politicians would just stop trying to save us from ourselves...
  • stevegt... John "B... 2011/06/08 14:38:54 (edited)
  • ELLIE 2011/06/03 10:07:31
    If drugs are banned then these pipes should be banned too.They are only a disguise for smoking drugs in a lot of cases.
  • stevegt... ELLIE 2011/06/07 14:23:35
  • ELLIE stevegt... 2011/06/07 14:26:08
  • iamthemob ~ the 444th Guru ~ 2011/06/03 10:00:29
    iamthemob ~ the 444th Guru ~
    Gotta love the nanny state.

    Regulate, require disclosure.
  • stevegt... iamthem... 2011/06/07 14:25:34
  • Howling Hank 2011/06/03 09:54:16
    Howling Hank
    Damn I meant to say no...son of a biscuit!
  • Steve 2011/06/03 09:12:13
    If you ban hookah lounges all the hookahs would then just hang out in the streets.
  • Matt Steve 2011/06/03 10:07:10
    as well.. it turns out those nasty hookah's will give you herpes if you get your lips onto them...
  • stevegt... Matt 2011/06/08 14:41:09
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