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Hookah is not healthy smoking alternative

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Both the Sept. 6 article on the opening of a hookah bar in Hillsville and the subsequent Todd Jennings column on Sept. 13 failed to mention that hookah or waterpipe smoking is linked by several scientific studies to cancers and heart disease.
The secondhand smoke from the hookah is severe and constant, and one of the national “homes” of traditional hookah smoking, Turkey, has banned public smoking including hookah use in public places because of the lethal health hazards for everyone who breathes.
Users of hookah are misled, perhaps intentionally, into thinking that waterpipe smoking is safer, but it is not.
Toxic metals are present in the shisha tobacco itself, nicotine is addictive and lethal, and these are not removed by the water, and hookah smokers puff more frequently than regular smokers.
Hookah use has become another gateway drug for young adults, as studies show many users go on to other tobacco products, alcohol, and illegal drugs.
Readers who want to begin researching the dangers of hookah can view some of the most recent studies:
• a study presented at the American Chemical Society, Addictive Behavior (2013 Jul 23;38(11):2751-2760. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.07.009.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23934006#)
• the Journal American College Health (2013;61(6):362-70. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2013.818000. www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306460313002074 and www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306460313002104)
Anne Morrow Donley
Independence