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Letter to the editor: Hookah does not cause cancer

I am generally a quiet and reserved student as I traverse Drake’s campus. I mind my own business and go about my day enjoying the scenery.

Today, however, as I was walking from the Quad Creek Café to Meredith, I noticed a brightly colored outline of a body. As I stopped and looked at it, the caption underneath it read, “Hookah causes cancer.” Now normally, as I mentioned above, I would not pay any attention to some random scribbles put down by my fellow students, but not this time. This was a very bold claim.

It is not uncommon to find me at the Chicha Shack, located on the corner of 25th Street and University Avenue. “Hookah causes cancer” is a very damaging statement to the only business at Drake, let alone Des Moines, that allows students to smoke from a hookah. Yes, smoking from a hookah calls for a greater inhalation of smoke and yes, it does have more nicotine than one cigarette (one bowl has 1.7 times more than one cigarette).

However, when studies are done, they are done by taking one person and having them smoke an entire bowl by themselves. You generally share one bowl between three or four people. There is no statistical significance found in the correlation of smoking chicha and getting cancer.

This is a buzz claim to get Drake students more sympathetically involved in Lung Cancer Awareness month. I urge people to research their claims before making them. Denigrating an activity that many students enjoy on this campus, purely to make a point, is just plain rude.


Brad Harris

Harris can be contacted at brad.harris@drake.edu


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1 Comment

  1. Samantha Haas November 18, 2010

    Reputable sources that say hookah does cause cancer (yeah, we and the ACS did some research). I would encourage you to do yours. Even if you can find a study that says it’s safe, we found several reputable ones that say it’s not:

    1) The World Health Organization http://www.who.int/tobacco/global_interaction/tobreg/Waterpipe%20recommendation_Final.pdf
    2) The Center for Disease Controls
    3) The American Cancer Society
    4) The Livestrong Campaign http://www.livestrong.com/article/16377-dangers-smoking-hookah/

    In case you like less reputable sources:
    1) E-how.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5092631_hookahs-bad.html
    2) “Cool Guy Muslim’s” blog http://mustaqeem.wordpress.com/2007/06/01/hookah-causes-way-more-than-cancer/

    Additionally, hookah may increase the risk of transmitting tuberculosis, viruses such as herpes or hepatitis, and other illnesses. Oh, in case you’re interested secondhand smoke from hookahs poses a serious risk for nonsmokers (or people sitting around and sharing), particularly because it contains smoke from the tobacco and smoke from the heat source (e.g., charcoal) used in the hookah.

    🙂 I’d think twice if it were me…

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