Hookah lounges are getting popular in Detroit, which has this doctor worried

Jan 28, 2014

David Leveille published a story about the increasing popularity of hookah lounges in the Detroit area for PRI's The World.

Leveille spoke with pulmonologist Basim Dubayo, the associate chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at Wayne State University's School of Medicine.

Dubayo said there's a perception that smoke from a hookah is safe because it's pulled through the water. But he says the toxins in the smoke are not water soluble.

And there's another problem:

What you're doing is you're sucking smoke from the tobacco which is located more than a meter away.

"So the act of sucking through this long distance requires a lot of effort and the inhalation is actually very, very deep compared to cigarette smoking, where you can get the smoke with minimum inhalation. The act of smoking hookah, or shisha, requires a lot of effort and deep inhalation resulting in deposition of the smoke deep in the lungs, in areas that are going to be very fragile and easily inflamed," he says.

It's a tough message to get across says Dubaybo, especially to young people because smoking shisha is socially acceptable. People perceive it as safe.