Most people who go to Saint Peter’s are probably familiar with hookah lounges. Adults, nineteen and over, can go to the lounges and mingle with others while smoking from hookahs. The lounges are typically smoked filled, as people smoke a flavored tobacco called shisha.
Outside of Saint Peter’s, the hookah trend has become a social thing amongst people in their twenties. Celebrities, such as Drake, have been spotted smoking shisha.
This shisha, or hookah as most people call it, has become portable recently with the emergence of hookah pens. These electronic pens allow a person to smoke walking down the street, pumping gas, dancing, whatever they want to do.
Electronic hookah pens typically cost anywhere from seven to ten dollars and can be purchased online and at gas stations. They come in several different flavors including apple cider, mango, blueberry, and more.
Lately, they have become a trend. Many people own or have owned a hookah pen.
“My friend had one and told me told me he got it at Exxon so, once I heard that, I went and bought one,” said John Smith, who chose to go by a different name.
Many people who own hookah pens at Saint Peter’s have purchased them from the Exxon gas station on the corner of West Side Avenue and Duncan Ave. Behind the counter of the Exxon gas station, there is a display of hookah pens with a variety of flavors to attract customers.
“My favorite flavor is of hookah is peach and mango,” said Quinn Berridge, a sophomore at Saint Peter’s. “Those were my favorite fruits growing up.”
Aside from the flavors, many people purchase hookah pens because they’re simply cool to have.
“People don’t think it’s addicting,” said Mohamed Merdan, a sophomore at Saint Peter’s. “It’s portable, no side effects, it’s legal, and you can do tricks with the smoke.”
Hookah produces a very thick smoke that people sometimes manipulate into cool designs in the air. However, this thick smoke may carry some health risks. If you ask most people, they think hookah is a lot healthier than smoking cigarettes, but they may be wrong.
According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Hookah smokers are at risk for the same kinds of diseases as are caused by cigarette smoking, including oral cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer, cancer of the esophagus, reduced lung function, and decreased fertility.”
The charcoal that is used to heat the tobacco in the hookah device produces high levels of carbon monoxide and emits harmful carcinogens. However, charcoal is not needed nor used in a hookah pen. Hookah pens use electricity to heat up the shisha, so the smoke exhaled is a lot safer.
People typically smoke hookah from a hookah device before hookah pens. A hookah device is usually shared among friends as they pass around the hose and inhale. Infectious diseases can be passed around this way since each person’s mouth has touched the hose.
Some people use plastic caps to prevent that from occurring, while others do not. Even using a plastic cap, however, is not always safe due to the fact that germs migrate. The second someone puts their mouth on a hookah hose, their germs get in the hose.
Since people have their own personal hookah pens now, sharing infectious diseases is being prevented, unless you decide to share your hookah pen, which is not the smartest thing to do.
The main danger with hookah pens is that people tend to smoke by themselves and smoke a lot more often than those who smoke from big hookah devices. And any smoke that is inhaled into the body can do some sort of damage.
However, there is a limitation on hookah pens. A typical hookah pen only allows five hundred to seven hundred pulls so, when you are done, you have to buy a new one. If you smoke hookah a lot, you will probably find yourself spending about ten dollars a week, which adds up after a while.
With the more expensive electronic hookah pens, the cartridge inside can be refilled, but that will also cost money and, since people tend to smoke hookah more often, refillable electronic hookah pen owners will create empty spaces in their pockets, just like a person with a cigarette habit.
Although hookah pens have become very popular, some people have chosen not to follow the trend. They think that hookah is not enough for them and they need something much more potent.
Amir Washington, a junior at Saint Peter’s, is one of these people.
“I would much rather smoke a cigarette,” said Washington, followed by a laugh, “Why get light headed off of flavored tobacco when I can just go for the gusto?”
Even though not everyone has decided to follow the hookah pen trend, anyone can look around campus and see that it is very popular. Due to the potential risks, though, people are advised to do further research before purchasing one and understanding just what they are inhaling into their body.