Using a hookah is not convenient. It is not like you can comfortably walk around with a hookah pipe. And finding the specialty blend of tobacco called shisha may not be easy. Yet here in Florida hookah seems to be more popular among high school teens then cigarette smoking as the percentage currently using hookah is higher than those currently smoking, 9.7% versus 6.9%. Perhaps it is the allure of the exotic and unfamiliar that pulls the teens in. Or maybe it is the shared social experience, sitting around a hookah taking turns inhaling sweetened tobacco smoke. While other hookah studies have looked at health risks such as the amount of nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide associated with inhaling, a new study from the University of Tampa has focused on the stuff you may not see or think about, like the bacteria found in the pipes. The researchers conducted field research at local hookah bars and discovered more than the sweet tobacco smoke of shisha going around. Ah, yes, nothing quite like sharing another hit of bacteria as you pass around the pipe.
Student assistants in the project tested one pipe from 10 local bars and swabbed samples were taken from “the mouthpiece, the hose and the connector where the hose meets the base.” The collected samples were analyzed and bacteria was grown from the samples taken in all 10 bars. The pathogens discovered “can lead to things like blood infections, food poisonings, skin infections, swelling of the heart, and a scarlet-like fever (a species of tuberculosis).” What makes this dangerous is “several of these bacteria are resistant to antibiotics.” When the research team contacted bars regarding their cleaning procedures, “none responded for comment.”
Research had already uncovered transmissible diseases such as “tuberculosis, mononucleosis and oral herpes” could be shared by passing around the mouthpiece yet information on bacterial contamination was scarce. This new information could help FDA scientists to look at possible new regulations regarding hookah bars.
Click HERE for the entire news article.