Spread awareness about hookah, vaping

I turned my head just in time to witness it all: my best friend gasping as a white billow of obnoxious vapor hit her in the face, causing her to choke on the distinctly flavored smoke of an e-cigarette. I stood appalled, watching all the buddies of the guy who did it chuckling with him.

The trends of vaping and smoking hookah are growing. Adults of all ages are participating and having fun with the practice. Yet there is a lack of incentive to educate individuals on the risks associated or restrict the usage to protect the health of non-smoking individuals.

Hookah and vaping have the majority of the same health risks as cigarette smoking such as a higher chance of oral cancer, lung cancer, heart disease and lung disease, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Not only are the risks associated with cigarettes still present, but in some cases, they’re worse. Due to the fashion in which hookah is used, partakers absorb more of the toxic substances found in cigarettes than actual smokers do. Hookah sessions are usually an hour long, whereas smoking a cigarette can be done in a matter of minutes. So smoking hookah increases the amount of time you are exposed to the harmful substances.

Like hookah, vaping is usually done for a longer period of time. The tricks people can do with the smoke, since so much more of it is exhaled, are a large attraction for the product. However, for the kids walking past on campus, the smoke looking cool does not make up for the unpleasant effects of secondhand smoke.

With the trend of hookah and vaping rapidly growing, not enough people are aware of the risks and educated enough to be making decisions.

Many people choose to vape because of the ease with which it can be used as a replacement for cigarettes. It is portable and compact and, for many people, just as addicting. When choosing to vape, many think they are making a good decision because it is a slightly better option than cigarettes.

This misconception draws many people in, and no one is there to stop and inform them. When walking into a vape shop, the person behind the counter is not required to discuss the potential effects with you and may not even be aware of them.

Similarly, hookah lounges are not required to inform customers of potential health risks. Hookah smoking has been shown to cause a multitude of problems with pregnancy such as respiratory diseases and weight issues, according to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Yet many employees are not trained or even aware themselves on the health risks associated with hookah.

“I’m just an employee,” said an employee at a local hookah lounge when I asked her about the health precautions that the business takes regarding their customers. “I wouldn’t know that information, sweetie.”

Many other hookah businesses in the area refused to comment, further proving that the individuals in charge of your safety as a customer are ignorant to the risks and blissfully so.

This, however, needs to change. I am not proposing a radical cross-nation ban on all smoking of any type, just that we increase awareness, so that when people make the decision to participate in these activities, it is an informed one that takes others into consideration.