A trendy but deadly habit

Comment on this story


iol lif july 13 sa hookah (3)_COUNTRY_E1

INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

The hubbly bubbly has a fashionable and sociable image, with most not knowing that it increases the risk of oral cancers. Pic: Terry Haywood

Every couple of days, Thato*, an 18-year-old student, smokes a hookah pipe, also known as a “hubbly bubbly”, oka pipe or water pipe, with his friends.

“Smoking the hookah pipe is normal for us. I don’t do it every day, but I know a few people who do it regularly, maybe even once a day. It’s a chance for us to socialise and relax. I don’t like cigarettes, so the hookah is cool for me,” he says.

Sergio Henriques says the attraction for him is that it is “a social thing to do” and an option for “non-smokers”.

“People enjoy the different flavours of tobacco you put in them, and let me tell you, there are a lot. Last time I checked there was a Red Bull flavour. It leaves a better taste in your mouth than cigarettes, and you can exhale a great plume of smoke which some people find quite entertaining. You can also accessorise your hubbly by selecting various sizes and designs of bases, along with the head and pipes,” he says.

Groups of people smoking a hookah pipe are an increasingly common sight in SA. The biggest fans of the “hubbly” are young adults between 18 and 28, typically seen sitting in circles and passing it around. The flexible pipe leads to a colourful, water-filled glass chamber that looks quite exotic, harking to the hookah’s origins, believed to be India or Persia. What is prepared and smoked is flavoured, molasses-based tobacco known as “shisha”.

But hookah smoking is a growing health hazard and most people who do it aren’t even aware of this. Many of these smokers consider the hookah to be safer than cigarettes, but it’s been found that smoking a single hookah pipe can give you as much nicotine as 10 cigarettes.

That the sensation is reported to be “less irritating” than cigarette smoking – thanks to the smoke bubbling through the water, where it is diluted and cooled – doesn’t make it less harmful.

Paediatrician Dr Kuban Naidoo, who completed a Master’s research study this year titled “Factors associated with hookah pipe use among undergraduate students at the University of the Witwatersrand”, found that among his sample of more than 800 students, more than half had smoked the hookah at least once.

“My study highlighted the significant use of the hookah pipe among Wits students, and my prediction is that while the prevalence of hookah smoking is higher among the youth in other countries, South Africa is catching up,” he says.

Naidoo explains that the hookah ritual is “quite new” here, and there is also no clear distinction between cigarette smoking and hookah use as yet, whereas abroad, where anti-smoking campaigns have made a huge impact, hookah smokers have often never touched a cigarette and, like Henriques, consider themselves “non-smokers”.

The real worry, however, is that hookah smokers in SA are becoming younger and younger, also in line with the trend overseas.

“We can anticipate a significant increase in schoolchildren smoking the hookah, though not cigarettes,” Naidoo says.

This resonates with the findings of a 2010 study carried out by the SA Medical Research Council in five deprived areas of Joburg. It found not only “surprisingly high” rates of hookah smoking among children as young as 12, but that a significant percentage of them added marijuana and/or alcohol to the tobacco.

Professor Andre van Zyl, head of the department of periodontics and oral medicine at the University of Pretoria, says that when he gave a talk at two private schools recently, he was “astonished to hear that the children smoke with their parents from as young as eight years old”.

“The kids swamped me with questions, admitting that they smoke hookahs. Some said they were desperate to stop as they were addicted,”Van Zyl said.

“The teachers confirmed this and informed me that it was a serious problem for them. It did confirm to me that this is a much bigger problem than we think.”

One of the signs of addiction to the hookah, says Naidoo, is smoking it alone at home, a practice common among established hookah smokers.

“You do take in significant amounts of nicotine, and the adolescent is more biologically sensitive to nicotine – that is, it takes less of it to make them dependent. And once there’s addiction, there are all the usual symptoms associated with cigarette addiction – tremors, agitation, mood swings,” he says.

Hookah smokers also face the same risks as those of cigarette smokers, diseases like oral cancer, respiratory and heart diseases, and pregnancy-related complications.

Indeed, American studies have found that due to frequent puffing, deep inhaling and the length of the smoking session, hookah smokers may absorb higher concentrations of the toxins found in cigarette smoke.

Also, while cigarette smokers typically take between eight and 12 puffs of a cigarette over 5-7 minutes, hookah smoking sessions typically last 20 to 80 minutes, during which a smoker may take between 50 and 200 puffs.

In 2005, the World Health Organisation stated that a “hookah smoker may inhale as much smoke during one session as a cigarette smoker would inhale consuming 100 or more cigarettes”.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) has found that because the hookah pipe is shared, it could be a major contributor in the transmission of diseases such as tuberculosis, viral hepatitis and oral herpes infection.

“We need to sit up and take notice of these facts, to disabuse people of the notion that hookah smoking is safe,” says Naidoo.

“American researchers have called this the second global tobacco epidemic since the cigarette, so we need to push the health message much harder if we’re to reverse the hookah smoking trend in SA.”

That it has gained almost a “cultural” status, endorsed even by some parents, presents a big challenge, however.

Smoking hookahs is so widespread and accepted in some communities that children as young as six are doing it, in front of their parents, according to one study by the MRC’s Environment & Health Research Unit.

There are a number of “hookah lounges” in our cities, restaurants or bars where patrons can rent hookahs and buy shisha to smoke. And because anti-smoking legislation addresses only cigarette smoking, hookah smoking escapes these restrictions, promoting the innocuous image it has developed.

“The PR around hookah smoking gives the impression it is pleasant, socially attractive and harmless. I’ve even seen shisha tobacco being sold in sweet shops,” says Naidoo. “But the fact is that it is just as dangerous as cigarette smoking. And parents should do something about it.”

The question you should ask as a parent, Naidoo suggests, is: “Would I allow my 12-year-old daughter to smoke cigarettes?

“Consider your answer, because it amounts to the same thing.” - The Star

*Thato’s real name has been withheld.

Get our free Lifestyle newsletter - subscribe here...


sign up
 
 

Comment Guidelines



  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

     

Bonwel
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 36.
View Profile
kgotlas
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Royalness
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Roroe
I'm a 26 year old woman looking to meet men and women between the ages of 22 and 30.
View Profile
sassyfoxylady101
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
FiftyshadesB
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 45.
View Profile
smilyz
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 48.
View Profile
Nola_505
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 47.
View Profile
spesy59
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 40.
View Profile
fungi1971
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
Garnet3107
I'm a 44 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
vicky74
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 45.
View Profile
ME_JE
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
MASESHIA
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 40.
View Profile
sbobo736
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
RealBlackPearl
I'm a 22 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
Bathandwa83
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 31 and 47.
View Profile
kiara_111
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 26 and 35.
View Profile
0cean_ntr
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Casiopiea40
I'm a 44 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
Dudutuli246
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
nwaolisa
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 41.
View Profile
xoxohayleyxoxo
I'm a 26 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
hellena_596
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 37 and 45.
View Profile
mcgoyer
I'm a 26 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 35.
View Profile
gloml66
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 58.
View Profile
sweetnessmgm
I'm a 26 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 63.
View Profile
leez83
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 42.
View Profile
hlehle888
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 50.
View Profile
Calmine
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
kncyLuv
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 45.
View Profile
ProVoq
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 70.
View Profile
CYAGal
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
honeybee_036
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 50.
View Profile
LadyJimpster
I'm a 23 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 22 and 28.
View Profile
zama1zn
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 47.
View Profile
Curvz
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 45.
View Profile
fiksBee
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 26 and 40.
View Profile
kafze
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 45.
View Profile
maria8022
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 60.
View Profile
Baabbygirl
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 36.
View Profile
Mistry_lady
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
danda100
I'm a 47 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 37 and 52.
View Profile
TABIEE
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 100.
View Profile
Rivee
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 26 and 32.
View Profile
Rosey903
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 45.
View Profile
Mbaliholysexyness
I'm a 19 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 19 and 27.
View Profile
Shazzyyyy
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
samke_722
I'm a 22 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 22 and 25.
View Profile
Smashizo
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 37.
View Profile
Zama101
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 100.
View Profile
mitch09
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 40.
View Profile
ally_charmy80
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile
simphy337
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
DDeeZA
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet women between the ages of 19 and 50.
View Profile
joocypie
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 45.
View Profile
ranga322
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 31 and 40.
View Profile
Leratomntande
I'm a 23 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 30.
View Profile
FanceFace
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 45.
View Profile
LavishT
I'm a 21 year old woman looking to meet men and women between the ages of 25 and 27.
View Profile
Mag137
I'm a 60 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 57 and 67.
View Profile
armor2014
I'm a 55 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 70.
View Profile
lulubaby
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 70.
View Profile
Resa1995
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 70.
View Profile
curvalicious
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Noxy727
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 36.
View Profile
MissD123
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 36 and 47.
View Profile
Foxy88
I'm a 22 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 33.
View Profile
LolliCandy
I'm a 20 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 21 and 35.
View Profile
kauwel
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 39 and 55.
View Profile
Melone
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 42.
View Profile
Ticom_199
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 45.
View Profile
PrincessEdelweiss
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
TT200
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
ntando_784
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
pumpania
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 40.
View Profile
Thel_89_zzz
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
MeltChocolate
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
ChocLatte
I'm a 44 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 60.
View Profile
Cyndilouper
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
marryme2014
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 37 and 45.
View Profile
RareT0paz
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 60.
View Profile
Leematt
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 29.
View Profile
mako_001
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 70.
View Profile
lala408
I'm a 46 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile
mello_185
I'm a 26 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 60.
View Profile
Sweetlipsss627
I'm a 21 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 50.
View Profile
lexy278
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
Funfoodie3012
I'm a 49 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
Noks76
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 37 and 45.
View Profile
Yahoo
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 41 and 60.
View Profile
BOTSHELOMAN
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 42.
View Profile
Emjae
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Dlodlolas75
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 43 and 49.
View Profile
SexLips
I'm a 26 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
briluu
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 37.
View Profile
Sweatma72
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
tkay011
I'm a 23 year old woman looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Sthandwasakhesit
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 35.
View Profile
Voicelady
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
sbo123sss
I'm a 30 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
lookingforfunza
I'm a 36 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 20 and 40.
View Profile
Mxo87
I'm a 27 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 30.
View Profile
Satisfactor99
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 35.
View Profile
CoolnCalm
I'm a 35 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
dev_xoxox52
I'm a 53 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 41 and 65.
View Profile
TSKgosiemang
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
JonnyBee
I'm a 26 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 19 and 28.
View Profile
mcD
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
PoundzMm
I'm a 23 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 23 and 30.
View Profile
mixido2
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 35.
View Profile
Qtip
I'm a 30 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 26 and 32.
View Profile
Ernie_Manyesa
I'm a 32 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 20 and 45.
View Profile
dlalo
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
Siyabulela90
I'm a 24 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
mfhalim
I'm a 42 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 35.
View Profile
Siwithpie
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 23 and 45.
View Profile
Seriousaboutlife325
I'm a 38 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
Kelvin7777
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 42 and 56.
View Profile
GWL321
I'm a 58 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 46 and 56.
View Profile
Vbe2014
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 30.
View Profile
bloodmoney370
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 50.
View Profile
Dalubuhle
I'm a 27 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 26 and 45.
View Profile
Jono693
I'm a 42 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
gothicD
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 37.
View Profile
dlarah
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
Rendzo
I'm a 47 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
hawk619
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Clownstotheleftofme
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 32 and 41.
View Profile
SSBK547P
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 30.
View Profile
GastFR
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 39.
View Profile
Sabloma
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 20 and 35.
View Profile
shiva709
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 56.
View Profile
Deejay_homy
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 42.
View Profile
gario
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 50.
View Profile
Thulani1234
I'm a 42 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 27 and 45.
View Profile
sweetman465
I'm a 67 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 62.
View Profile
Dayo78
I'm a 36 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 20 and 50.
View Profile
Smooth_Kriminal
I'm a 27 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Lawrence218
I'm a 26 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 39.
View Profile
Terror000
I'm a 28 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Washe
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 33.
View Profile
tripplekkkk
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 30.
View Profile
mattgeah
I'm a 31 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
Diva1308
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
IceTy
I'm a 42 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 42.
View Profile
bangstar
I'm a 22 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 19 and 23.
View Profile
TuEsDAy
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
Jb24golf
I'm a 40 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 32 and 38.
View Profile
Fanzonator
I'm a 28 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Lucky123nxt
I'm a 36 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 40.
View Profile
gwbyo
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 21 and 40.
View Profile
Gemini24
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Oupa0414
I'm a 29 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 33.
View Profile
charged
I'm a 40 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
catcher182
I'm a 22 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 20 and 24.
View Profile
Mpeks
I'm a 22 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 30.
View Profile
Jabz_0
I'm a 29 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 36.
View Profile
mesut909
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 55.
View Profile
Moxion
I'm a 27 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 35.
View Profile
STONE_228
I'm a 42 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 35.
View Profile
shooter_949
I'm a 51 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 20 and 50.
View Profile
Henry071
I'm a 28 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
tonym
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 24 and 35.
View Profile
tsvoritsvoto
I'm a 27 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 25.
View Profile
THOKZANHLA
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 44.
View Profile
lmn4life
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
Eriqnes
I'm a 33 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 21 and 35.
View Profile
Minkh
I'm a 30 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 29.
View Profile
Bento1
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 38 and 50.
View Profile
loner729
I'm a 40 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
bigbhele
I'm a 34 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 55.
View Profile
bobbylava
I'm a 35 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 31.
View Profile
Ma1010n
I'm a 26 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Deathrow5662
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
Thamza_77
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 35.
View Profile
GD1
I'm a 70 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 55 and 65.
View Profile
myth909
I'm a 34 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
LIONKING915
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 38 and 50.
View Profile
Mokoka01
I'm a 42 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
Chacal
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
Shadra143
I'm a 22 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 45.
View Profile

Business Directory