Collection: Hookah Lounges
Hookah lounges have been around in the U.S. since the 1960s, but have recently become a part of mainstream culture as hookah smoking has grown significantly popular amongst college youths. Originally, the establishments opened up as coffee and teahouses, but have since become a popular social gathering. The first Hookah Lounge in the US was established in Las Vegas and created the entire experience of hookah smoking, from specialty cocktails, Middle Eastern food, and Moroccan décor. Over two-thirds of states have hookah bars, generally situated near cities and universities.1
The marketing and advertising for hookah lounges often focuses on flavor, pleasure, relaxation, social aspects, as well as the cultural history of hookah. Often times, hookah bars in the US offer discounts and specials as a way to target college-age individuals.2 The ads in this theme present the different ways in which hookah bars target youth.
In the U.S. especially, hookah is positioned as a trendy and relatively-safe social activity for college students and other youth. This is due to the misconception that hookah smoking is safer than cigarette smoking. A recent study found that only 4% of 144 hookah lounges across the nation had tobacco-related and health warnings on their websites.1 In fact, as many communities today seek to go smoke-free, many tobacco establishments have transformed into hookah bars in order to skirt around the law.2 The way that hookah lounges have branded themselves to appeal to college kids – through their physical establishment, their websites, and the activity itself – has allowed many young individuals to become more easily exposed to hookah smoking. This could lead to the introduction of smoking to people who would otherwise not smoke.