Explainer: What is a hookah?

Many teens are turning to water pipes as an alternative to conventional cigarettes

By Amanda Leigh Mascarelli, 09:47 AM March 19, 2014

Many teens think they’ve found a safe alternative to cigarettes in hookahs. It is a new trend that’s becoming quite popular with young people. In fact, research shows, hookah smoking is anything but safe.

Hookah is an Arabic word for a type of water pipe. People have used hookahs for 400 years, mainly in the Middle East. They inhale tobacco smoke — often flavored — through a special instrument. It includes a bowl, or basin, that holds water. Drawing air through the mouthpiece heats the tobacco...

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