[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="314"] A cool new hookah lounge[/caption]
While there are plenty of horror stories about the dangers of Hookah (and certainly, we'd promote the safe usage of the pipes), it seems that in the USA there more people than ever trying them out with a recent report by the American Academy of Pediatrics finding that 18% of High School Seniors smoke them.
According to the report, between 2011 and 2012, hookah use rose from 4.1% to 5.4% among high school students and around 40% of students have tried hookah.
But is this a good thing?
It's very easy to focus on the bad side of hookah and certainly, if you're looking to cut down your nicotine then it's probably best you stay away from the tobacco based flavours. But, there are safer ways to enjoy the flavours and it seems that's what's attracting young people to them. Standard cigarettes and the taste of tobacco can put people off, but hookah with its fruity flavours is a different matter. Indeed, it's not just about the flavours but the social aspect is also very important.
Remember when people used to smoke "to be social"? When smoking was banned pretty much everywhere, it wasn't social any more and people went outside, almost outcast. Well hookah is bringing that back and now it's sociable once more - which is probably why students are getting in on the act. And who can blame them?
In the USA it appears Hookah bars are also doing well. Do a search for "Hookah bars" in New York and you find 539 results on Yelp.com. Do the same in London and you get 17. Maybe the USA is ahead of us again?