Hookahs also known as Nargile or Shisha are extremely popular with teenagers because of the social appeal of the product (it is seen as a cultural activity that you often do in large groups) and the mistaken impression that it is safer than traditional cigarettes. A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that 1 in 5 adolescents have used a hookah or smoked a cigar. 1According to the CDC2, hookah smoking has "many of the same health risks" as cigarette smoking. Other studies have also shown that hookahs — which use specially made tobacco known as shisha, available in a variety of fruit and candy flavors — deliver tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide in even higher doses than regular cigarettes.
Now e-hookahs are becoming very popular. E-hookahs are available in a variety of styles. Some companies such as VaporX and Hooka Stik manufacture hookah pens that look very similar to e-cigarettes. Other manufacturers like 777 manufacture an e-hookah that looks very similar to a traditional hookah. Because e-hookahs are marketed primarily to teenagers, they are available in a variety of fruity flavors such as bubble gum, apple, watermelon, peach, mango, cherry and grape.
Many of the advertisements for e-hookah pens have strong sexual overtones. An ad for phantom smoke has a voluptuous woman in a suggestive pose in the bathtub with an e-hookah in her lips. In another ad for the company, a scantily clad woman sits on the ground holding the leg of celebrity artist Soulja Boy, who has an e-hookah in his hand. This e-hookah is marketed as the “Soulja Boy Edition.” An ad for Hookah stick has a close-up image of luscious red lips biting into a green apple. An image of “sweet sour apple” flavored e-hookah stik is transposed on top of the apple.
While many e-hookahs juices are available with zero nicotine content, some products contain tobacco, nicotine or other drugs. The social appeal of e-hookah and its easy availability in a wide variety of fruity flavors makes it a public health concern. There is fear that e-hookah vaping could lead consumers to get hooked to other tobacco products including conventional cigarettes.
1. Palamar JJ, Zhou S, Sherman S, Weitzman M. (2014). Hookah Use Among High School Seniors. Pediatrics. Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/07/01/peds.2014-0538.full.pdf+html
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Hookahs. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/tobacco_industry/hookahs/