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May 11, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Crime prevention specialist Paula Dickenson, USN retired, with the Sheriff’s substation in Alpine has issued a warning about hidden hazards of hookah lounges and bars.


Hookahs pose risks of hepatitis and tuberculosis transmission as well as hazards associated with tobacco and the chemicals that the tobacco contain.


Below is full text of information provided by the Sheriff’s office:

A few folks have been asking me about Hookah Lounges and what they are.
Here is some basic information. At the end, we have provided you with a
point of contact for any additional questions you may have.


HOOKAH LOUNGES AND BARS - The latest Teen Trend and Growing in San Diego!


What are Hookahs? Hookahs are a glass or metal water pipes that originated  in India. They are shaped somewhat like a bottle and have long, flexible  hoses with tips that people put into their mouths to inhale tobacco smoke.  In most hookahs, hot charcoal is placed on top of tobacco in a bowl to heat  it. The tobacco, or shisha, is typically flavored and contains the same  chemicals found in all tobacco, including nicotine.


In recent years, there has been tremendous growth in the number of hookah lounges and bars in San Diego County. Hookah smoking is increasingly popular among underage youth and young adults, exposing them to both tobacco use and secondhand smoke. Many of these young people do not think that hookah smoke is as harmful and addictive as cigarette smoke.


Smoking hookah for 45-60 minutes can be equivalent to smoking 100 or more cigarettes. The charcoal used in the tobacco heating process produces the toxin carbon monoxide. The substance used comes in a variety of fruity flavors.


The World Health Organization issued an Advisory Note about hookah warning  that sharing a water pipe mouthpiece poses a serious risk of transmission of  communicable diseases, including tuberculosis and hepatitis. There is no  public health regulations currently in place for these "shared" hookah  pipes, with the lounges/bars providing a plastic cover for the mouth.  Nothing about what is actually left within the walls of the pipe itself.


For further information, contact Lisa Archibald, 619-683-7514 or  larchibald@alac.org. Lisa is with the American Lung Association.


Paula H. Dickenson, USN, Retired
Crime Prevention Specialist
Alpine and East County Rural
2751 Alpine Blvd
Alpine, CA 91901
(619) 659-2608/paula.dickenson@sdsheriff.org


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