Sunday, December 2, 2012
The Saratogian

I read with great interest the article of Nov. 23 announcing the opening of Saratoga Springs’ first hookah bar. I must take exception, though, with the opening line of the article, “people can now relax with special flavored tobacco products.”

A hookah user may think they are relaxing, but in fact they are putting their body to great risk by utilizing one of the most dangerous and addictive forms of smoking available.

A 2009 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and reported on by ABC News showed that a typical session of hookah smoking, about 45 minutes, is equivalent to smoking more than 100 cigarettes.

I also disagree with the hookah bar’s publicist who attempts to make the rationalization that their specialty tobacco is healthier than cigarettes because it “has a small amount of nicotine and no other additives.” The same journal study showed that with hookah use there is greater carbon monoxide, nicotine, 48 times more smoke exposure and approximately 36 times the amount of tar versus a cigarette.

As Dr. John Spangler, director of tobacco-intervention programs and professor of family medicine at Wake University School of Medicine, observed, a hookah is “like a cigarette on steroids.”

Matthew Andrus
Southern Adirondack Tobacco-Free Coalition
Saratoga Springs