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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

States Work to Ban Hookah Bars

Over the last decade it seems like Hookah bars have sprung up around every major college campus. The activity seems pretty harmless, college students meeting up to sit in a circle to inhale molasses tobacco in a variety of fruity flavors. Most students feel that the smoking tobacco out of hookahs is somehow less harmful, but, a number of legislators, college administrators, and health groups would like to see it harder for hookah bars to operate or banned all together due to health concerns.

The New York Times reports that the states where the Hookahs, or water pipes, would be banned or limited under bills would be:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Oregon

Certain cities in New York and California have already made moves to ban the hookah bars, while other states are exempting hookah bars from their indoor-smoking laws, like Boston and Maine. Hookah bars fill water pipes with a blend of tobacco, molasses and fruit which they call shisha. According to researchers, it is a common misconception that the water in the pipe somehow filters out all the harmful chemicals, which may be true to a degree. However, the water in the pipe does not filter all the harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke.

The World Health Organization (WHO)reports in a typical one-hour hookah session the user can be inhaling the equivalent of 100 cigarettes or more. In a study of North Carolina college students, it was determined that 40.3 percent reported ever having smoked tobacco from a hookah, compared with 46.6 percent who reported ever having smoked a cigarette.

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