Hookahs and Herpes? WTH?!

I can honestly say that I think now I've heard everything when it comes to the hype surrounding hookah use. It's not bad enough that the powers that be manipulate statistics to suit their agendas, but now they are capitalizing on the fear of STDs to accomplish their goal.

A recent article in the Rocky Mountain News (read the article
here) states that "College students who opt for the supposedly safe smoke of a hookah pipe are sucking in the chemical equivalent of dozens of cigarettes and are risking mouth herpes and other diseases, a Colorado State University doctor says." We're all used to hearing the tripe about hookah smoking being more dangerous than cigarettes, and I've posted something on that subject in the past, but to use fear of contracting an STD in order to scare people out of smoking hookah is patently unethical and irresponsible.

"Mouth herpes" is nothing more than a cold sore. The
Mayo Clinic reports that "Certain strains of the herpes virus cause cold sores. Herpes simplex virus type 1 usually causes cold sores." While it is true that a strain of herpes causes cold sores, it is a different one that triggers the STD known as genital herpes. The herpes virus also causes chickenpox, shingles, various types of cancer, and encephalitis. Without clarifying this matter in the article, both the doctor and the writer who quoted her display a profound lack of ethics and responsibility to the general public. Instead, both chose to play on the fact that when most people hear herpes, they automatically assume the worst -- the genital type.

Since "shared eating utensils, razors and towels may spread this infection" (
Mayo Clinic), why didn't the physician or writer caution the public from eating in restaurants, using towels in a hotel, or getting a shave at the local barbershop? Are they making assumptions that college students don't engage in these activities at all, or do they mean to imply that hookah smoking is the only method by which this "mouth herpes" is contracted? In either case, it strikes me as little more than a blatant attempt to scare young people enough that they will stop smoking hookah. After all, nobody wants the social stigma associated with herpes.

Anyone who has been to a hookah bar can attest to the fact that each smoker is given a disposable mouth tip to use. Smokers can take these tips with them or toss them out before leaving, so the likelihood that they are being reused is minute. The fear of getting a used tip can be remedied by bringing your own to the bar. You won't have to worry about catching herpes from yourself.

It's about time that the medical community weighed in on the issue of hookah usage a little more responsibly than they have in the past. Yes, the hookah is a smoking device. Yes, people enjoy tobacco in it. Yes, tobacco is a known carcinogen. But to inflate statistics to suit an agenda and rustle up scare tactics by blaming hookah use for incidents of herpes is not the way to examine a problem through the scientific lens. And those who engage in this behavior ought to be hanging their collective heads in shame.

Comment (1)

Stacey Sharp

9:13 PM

Experts are saying thatHookahs and Herpes will harm to health. Is that true?

Stacey Sharp
Remedies Cold Sore