Hookah: Why is it So Popular?

August 2, 2012

Hello Folks! Tonight, I am posting an article I recently wrote for the online news source for the city of McKinney, Texas that I work for (www.townsquarebuzz.com go check it out) about the growing popularity of hookah. There are obviously many contested beliefs about hookah which was part of the reason this article was written. Please enjoy and comment if you have an opinion. Mind you, this article does not reflect the views of Town Square Buzz but rather explores the different opinions. Please enjoy!

Who would have known that a practiced Middle Eastern tradition would find it’s way all the way over here in McKinney, Texas. Hookah lounges have become a widely common hangout and socializing venue for older teens and college students. While hookah lounges are popular hangouts, the aspect of “smoking” hookah draws many controversial issues.  

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) quotes that smoking hookah “delivers the addictive drug nicotine and is at least as toxic as cigarette smoke.” This statement and ones similar, have parents concerned about their kids’ health as they go off to hookah lounges.

“I don’t want my daughter smoking that,” says local mom Martha Wilson. “It’s addictive and I don’t want that harming her or becoming a habit.”

Considering its controversial nature, other opinions concerning hookah and its make up are in circulation around the community as well.

“Smoking hookah is a great confection tastefully and visually that is so much fun to share with friends,” said McKinney college student Brad Weiler. “It’s a safe substance with which to have relaxing social enjoyment.”

Mike Jabary of Jabary’s Hookah Lounge in Richardson also talked about the appealing aspects of hookah.

“It is a social thing,” said Mike. “It is much different than cigarettes because it is not addictive. Because of the mixes of illegal drugs it is hard for older folk to understand that the hookah is a completely different aspect; a different use.” A native of Jerusalem, Mike knows first hand about the traditional uses of hookah.  

“Hookah is a traditional Middle Eastern tobacco,” said Mike. “It has been there for centuries. It is used in coffee shops and get-togethers with friends. And places where friends can be together.”

Because of the tobacco in the product, users of hookah must legally be 18 years of age or older in order to partake.  This explains the age group hookah lounges tend to appeal to.

For college students, hookah lounges are becoming a place for socialization. While McKinney itself does not have any hookah lounges surrounding areas such as Plano, Richardson, and Denton seem to be drawing McKinney kids to their hookah lounges.

Parallel to a Starbucks or coffee shop where people can hang out with their friends or even get some homework done, hookah lounges offer the same amenities. Usually decorated with couches and warm colors on the wall, the atmosphere is very relaxing. But instead of drinking coffee while writing a paper, people can smoke hookah. While there are debates about the health concerns surrounding hookah like everything else too much of anything is a bad thing.
Like going to a movie or a bar on a Friday night, hookah lounges are another home away from home for older teens and college students to sit down, relax, and enjoy each others company while partaking in a traditional act.

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