A hookah is a type of tobacco pipe that uses water in a glass base to cool the smoke before it is inhaled through a hose. The pipe burns shisha which is a tobacco that is artificially flavored with fruit, mint, or sweets. There is some dispute as to the possible extent of Hookah Pipe Smoking Injuries as conclusive research has yet to emerge.
How might hookah be dangerous?
Unlike other tobacco products, hookah is a social activity with the tobacco packed in a “bowl” shared amongst a group of people, typically in a private residence or hookah lounge and lasting in exceed of 40 minutes. An individual participating in a hookah session may inhale 100 – 200 times the smoke of a single cigarette and may contain 1.7 times the nicotine. The Mayo Clinic insists that hookah smoking carries the same risks as smoking cigarettes, especially as the water cooling the smoke does not filter the toxins present in the smoke. Toxic chemicals are typically used to flavor the tobacco, which is the primary appeal of hookah.
Hookah and shisha manufacturers alike admit to having nicotine content in their product but claim that it is significantly less than typical cigarettes. Although hookah has a reputation as a safer alternative to cigarettes, it should never be interpreted as healthy or non-habit forming.
What other injuries could result from smoking hookah?
As hookah is a communal activity there is the increased risk of transmitting a contagious disease through saliva present on the hoses. Plastic mouthpieces may diminish this risk, but sanitary concerns remain. Individuals with respiratory problems should avoid hookah due to the obvious danger posed by smoke of any kind. Additionally, recklessness in the operation of the hookah stand may cause burns as the tobacco is steamed through exposed coals on top of the bowl of tobacco.
What should I do if I am injured by hookah or a hookah stand?
Rarely are hookah-related injuries due to negligence as individuals usually participate in the activity voluntarily and the staff working at hookah lounges are well aware of the hazards of working in such an establishment. Recklessness in handling the coals however can lead to serve burns and property damage may be entitled to damages if the plaintiff can prove that the negligence on the part of the stand operator is the direct result of the defendant failing to take adequate safety precautions or was otherwise negligent in his “duty of care” to the plaintiff.
Shisha can also be potentially harmful due to a lack of oversight and potentially dangerous flavoring compounds used in its manufacture. In the event that shisha caused harm above and beyond what would result from normal tobacco smoking, then the manufacturer or supplier may be held liable to medical expenses that result. Mixing hookah with alcohol or illicit drugs is also dangerous and not recommended for any persons.