Why would anyone suck air through a bowl of water for the sole purpose of filling his or her lungs with tobacco smoke?
For Anwar Aljabaly, 18, of Dearborn the answer is as simple as lighting the charcoal in a hookah, or water pipe: enjoyment wrapped up in his Middle Eastern culture and heritage.
Dr. Raja Rabah of Children’s Hospital in Detroit says there is another answer: addiction. People like Aljabaly are addicted to nicotine, whether it comes from conventional cigarettes or from the exotic water pipes called shisha, nargeela, narghile, arghileh, okka, kalyan, hubble-bubble and ghelyoon.
Hookah, arghileh, whatever you call it, the bottom line is addiction to nicotine, Rabah told me.
Aljabaly, a student at Henry Ford Community College, will be in Taylor on Tuesday as a panelist on an antismoking program called “Hooked on Hookah” at Wayne County Community College’s Downriver campus. It’s organized by the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SMCA).
He knows he’ll be the lone ranger at this conference, since the other presenters will be opposed to hookah smoking. Aljabaly even makes his pitch for hookahs in an anti-hookah film also called “Hooked on Hookah.” His message is simple: Hookah is good for the soul.
And hookah use is on the upswing. Olivia Polychroni, 18, of Taylor goes with friends to cafes in Dearborn or Novi to smoke hookah and doesn’t worry. The Truman High School student told me, “Cigarettes are disgusting; they make your teeth yellow and they just don’t appeal to me at all.
“I know there is some danger, but I don’t do it a lot like cigarettes. I go to a café maybe once a week, if that.”
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