Smoking Trends: E-Cigarettes and Hookah

Some of you may be thinking, “is it actually possible for smoking to be healthy?” Although the answer is still no, it should be noted that there are many alternatives to traditional cigarettes and hookah that are emerging and becoming more popular. They seem to have potential to be better for you than these addicting practices.  It was only six years ago that America began adding the electronic cigarette to the markets, and it has managed to offer smokers an alternative to tobacco. Similarly, we now have access to electronic hookah pens, which are becoming quite popular.

But, first, what really is a cigarette and what are its side effects? A cigarette is a cylinder made up of smoking paper filled with tiny fragments of tobacco leaves. In some cases, they are filtered which basically means there will be less smoke and tar going into your lungs as you inhale. However, even the filtered cigarettes are still not good for your health. Smoking can cause all kinds of problems for your body such as heart disease, lung disease, and cancer in the following areas: bladder, cervix, esophagus, larynx, lung, oral cavity, pancreas, pharynx, and stomach. These are only a few health problems smoking can create for you, so clearly this is a dangerous practice that can have long-lasting effects on your body.

Another common form of smoking is done through a hookah. Let’s cover this, too.  A hookah is a pipe that vaporizes flavored tobacco, or shisha, and lets you smoke it through a tube or tubes attached to it. Although some people believe it to be healthier than cigarettes, this has not actually been proven. Many doctors note that there is still tobacco going into the lungs and during a typical hookah session and you inhale more of it than a cigarette since one session can be around an hour long. Research is still being done, but so far people have found that hookah smoke is filled with toxic compounds such as carbon monoxide, heavy metals, tar and carcinogens, which cause cancer.  Because of this, it can be linked to many diseases that are similar to the ones listed above for cigarettes.

So, how is there a “healthier” way to do this? The latest craze sweeping America regarding smoking is all about the electronic devices like e-cigarettes and hookah pens. Both of these devices do not contain tobacco and some don’t even have nicotine. Ideally, this could be the healthy alternative we have been looking for.

Although e-cigarettes appear to be similar to regular cigarettes, they are quite different. E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, a leading cause of ruined taste buds all the way up to emphysema and lung cancer. In fact, if you observe the inner workings of this little device, you can see that inside there is liquid nicotine which is heated by battery and becomes vapor so one can smoke it. There are also certain kinds of these in which the liquid contains no nicotine for people who want to smoke without it. Regardless, there is no plant-burning involved in this process. Although many experts are unsure about whether or not this alternative is actually better for you, users enjoy it because it saves them money from lighters and packs, there is no smell, and some even believe it has helped them quit smoking altogether. Plus, the absence of tobacco is definitely an improvement for your health if you are a person who smokes regular cigarettes often.

The hookah pens are a newer craze, and although there are many different kinds, they are similar to e-cigarettes in several ways.  A hookah pen is a device shaped like an e-cigarette and the liquid inside is heated up to create water vapor that one can smoke. It also lacks tobacco, nicotine and tar but still allows you to smoke something that is flavored, and in general, they last for a long time. Some of these are even re-chargeable because they are battery-operated. There are just as many flavors as regular hookah available, and there is no cleaning or lighting coals. Plus, they are smaller than the traditional device used so they are easier to travel with. Overall, they have a decent amount of pros which is probably why they are becoming so popular.

Something noted by doctors is that people who smoke regularly and try to quit struggle with the physical withdrawal, obviously, but they also note that they miss the ritual of it. These electronic devices seem to provide a way for one to continue this ritual with less health risks being taken. They even provide one with the opportunity to slowly wean yourself off of smoking altogether because you wouldn’t need to pick a day to stop smoking altogether; you could slowly transition. Although a lot of the effects on health are still mostly unknown regarding these newer devices, the ones that are available seem to suggest that these new electronic devices could be safer for you.

My recommendation? If you are smoking some form of tobacco regularly, an electronic device is definitely a good substitute for those who want to slow down or even quit. For those of you who aren’t trying to quit, keep these options in mind and remember that smoking doesn’t only affect you, it can harm those around you. Be mindful, and be smart.