Bringing a bad habit home

Bringing a bad habit home

new addiction

Bringing a bad habit home

Last year, an NGO - the World Lung Foundation filed a PIL saying that restaurants serving hookahs are violating the Control of Tobacco Products Act. In response, the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) argued that ‘herbal hookahs’ have no tobacco or nicotine and hence can be ‘safely’ served to customers. The High Court finally ruled in the latter’s favour and now restaurants are free to serve ‘herbal hookahs.’

However as Metrolife found out, youngsters hooked to hookah these days, do not go out looking for their dose. Especially, since hookah bars were deemed illegal in Delhi last year, most have purchased hookahs and are now doping on it at home. So a hookah fix comes cheap, uncontrolled and at any time of the day.

Parul Pasricha, an advertising professional says, “I first had hookah two years ago at a restaurant. I liked the taste and bought one for home. A hookah sitting at a joint costs Rs 300 at least. On the other hand, a hookah stand itself costs Rs 300 and is easily available at shops in Greater Kailash, Defence Colony and Connaught Place.”“After you purchase a stand, there’s only flavour and coal to purchase. Both of these cost around Rs 50 and can be used for several sittings. Why would one want to go to a hookah bar after this?”

But are they aware that these flavours contain tobacco and are harmful to health? “Yes. I do know that,” says Devashish Pahwa, “The brand of flavour I purchase ‘Aladin’ clearly says that it has tobacco and is injurious to health. But I have always had the impression that it has lesser tobacco than cigarettes and is not addictive. I don’t smoke hookah every day. I only do it on the weekends.”

Another young professional Gaurav Chakraborty shares, “I and my friends bought a hookah jointly. Now we rotate it amongst ourselves and have hookah parties often. I feel the water in the hookah filters out all the cancer causing substances and is therefore not very harmful. Even my parents have never raised any objection to having a hookah at home.”

Doctors, however, tell us otherwise. Dr PS Maan, senior consultant, Pulmonology, Max hospital says, “It is a myth that hookah has less nicotine than cigarettes. Tobacco used in a sheesha contains nicotine. In a 60-minute hookah session, smokers are exposed to 100 times the volume of smoke inhaled from a single cigarette. It is also addictive.”

“Hookah pipes, if not cleaned well or used by several people, also spreads infectious diseases. Youngsters often don’t tell their parents when they have recurrent coughing bouts. This is the reason parents don’t come to know about it and end up supporting their kids in having hookah.” 

Looks like these kids just brought a bad habit home.