Hookah Smoking Trend Becoming Health Epidemic, Says Researcher

Posted November 01, 2006 by Acupuncture & Massage College & filed under Education & Research


The recent trend among college kids toward using waterpipes, or traditional Middle Eastern hookahs, for tobacco smoking may be just as harmful to them as smoking cigarettes. Several “hookah bars”, or shisha cafes as they are known in parts of the Middle East, have opened in New York, Los Angeles, and other areas throughout the United States, especially near college campuses.

Christopher Loffredo, Ph.D., Director of the Cancer Genetics and Epidemiology Program at Georgetown University Medical Center has published several studies on hookah use. His research group authored a recently released World Health Organization monograph, which includes findings on “this significant and spreading epidemic of waterpipe smoking”.

Hookah smokers expose themselves to higher levels of nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide than cigarette smokers, because the smoking session is very long and is seen as a social activity, lasting up to three hours, said Loffredo. “People who use these devices don’t realize that they could be inhaling what is believed to be the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes in one typical 30-60 minute session with a water pipe, because such a large quantity of pure, shredded tobacco is used.” Anti-tobacco groups have yet to develop appropriate educational outreach programs to address the health risks associated with the new national trend.

Acupuncture can effectively treat tobacco addiction through a tailored smoking cessation program that calms the nervous system, strengthens will power and minimizes nicotine cravings. A twice weekly, five-week program can reduce the irritability and restlessness commonly associated with withdrawal. Treatment combines auricular acupuncture and selected body points to influence organs and energetic pathways associated with smoking.

Chinese herbal supplements can assist with controlling withdrawal symptoms. A Lung Yin Tonic such as Ophiopogonis Combination (Mai Men Dong Tang) can be used to prevent cravings. Bupleurum plus Dragon Bone and Oyster Shell (Chai Hu Jia Long Gu Mu Li Tang) is a formula commonly prescribed to prevent relapses and reduce irritability. Lobelia Tea (Ban Bian Lian) or Green Tea can minimize nicotine cravings.

"Written by Rev. Dr. Richard Browne



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