Hookah heating up in O.C.
It's a cultural connection for some, a trendy way to relax for others and a source of profit for a few.
Source: Orange Co. Register, 2002-12-20
Author: ANDRE MOUCHARD / The Orange County Register
HUNTINGTON BEACH - Ah, to be young and trendy and to have $10 to burn.
"Well, this is pretty relaxing," says Joseph Park, 20.
With that, Park exhales a small fog bank of sweet-smelling smoke. Then he hands the business end of a water pipe to one of three female friends squeezing around him on a velvet couch.
The hookah - as trend and, perhaps, as cultural peacemaker - is lit.
Park is a semiregular at the Bulldog, a hookah bar that opened four smoky months ago in a struggling cigar store. From sundown until after tavern closing time, The Bulldog serves a small but growing army of mostly American-born college students who wander in, plop down $10 for a plug of molasses-drenched tobacco and a rented hookah (with a separate mouthpiece for each user), and partake in a custom once confined to older men in places like Cairo and Istanbul - group-smoked tobacco.
On one level, The Bulldog is pure fad.
Hookah is already chic in Western Europe and, after a two-year ramp-up, it's catching on in this country. Americans now share rented hookahs and puff at college- oriented coffeehouses, restaurants and, in a few cases, tobacco-only spots like The Bulldog.

Britain pipes up as the nation's smart set decides shisha is chic
Source: The Observer (uk), 2003-09-21
Author: Stephen Khan / The Observer
Smoke from hot hookahs has permeated into the heart of the West End of London and other cities across the UK. And far from being the preserve of Arabs and Middle Easterners, the bubbling pipes are now to be found perched next to pre-clubbers and restaurant-goers of all backgrounds and ages. . . .
And the extent of shisha penetration into mainstream British society became apparent last week when Christine Hamilton was photographed in Chelsea's K bar - a favourite haunt of Prince William's - chilling out with a brightly decorated pipe. . . .
anti-cigarette groups are turning on hubbly-bubbly. Deborah Arnott of Action on Smoking Health (ASH) warned that it was not a risk-free way to consume tobacco.
'We are seeking a ban on smoking and these pipes would be covered by that,' she said. 'Studies have shown there is a health risk associated with shisha in the same way there is with cigarettes.'
But her call was ridiculed by Bilal Stefo, an Iraqi who sells hookah pipes and tobacco from a Middle Eastern foodstore in Glasgow. Surrounded by the pipes, he said: 'It's crazy to talk about getting rid of these. People are just waking up to the pleasures of shisha.

Hookah hangout / Entrepreneur brings smoking tradition to town
Source: Santa Cruz County (CA) Sentinel, 2003-09-17

The elegant hookah glints silver in the afternoon sun, incongruous against the SUVs that pass on Cedar Street and the tourists in sandals and shorts.
But Kash Johal is hoping the sight of the water pipe, with its velvet covered hoses that look like Medusa's hair, will soon become as familiar here as it is in the Middle East and Asian subcontinent.
He is the first restaurateur in the county to open a hookah bar as part of his new Santa Cruz cafe, and already the idea seems to be catching on.
On a recent warm night, customers packed Johal's oak-floored cafe and patio, taking puffs of fruit-flavored tobacco from hookahs, watching a belly dancer slip through the crowd, eating rich Indian curries. . .
He says there is very little second-hand smoke from a hookah and enthusiasts claim hookah-smoked tobacco has fewer of the chemicals found in cigarettes.
A spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control could find no studies done on hookah smoking.

Hookah craze blowing up
Bars in College Park, DC give students a place to enjoy various tobacco flavors
Source: The Diamondback (UMD-College Park), 2003-09-15
Author: Joshua Davidovich For The Diamondback
The hookah, sometimes also called a nargile or shisha, is a water pipe traditionally used to smoke tobacco mixed with fruit-flavored molasses.
The trend has picked up so much around the campus that Prince Cafe, a hookah bar and Middle Eastern restaurant, opened a location on Route 1 last year, adding to the pair already in the Washington area.
Several news reports have indicated that hookah sales and interest have skyrocketed in the last three to five years, with some estimates at about 500 percent a year.
Smokers who frequent Prince or bars in other cities become part of a club, one that's exclusive but rapidly expanding.
Adel Monam, a manager at Prince, said the cafe is always busy and estimated about 35 percent of its customers are university students.

Hookah bar becomes latest addition to Simsum
Source: Daily Pennsylvanian (University of Pennsylvania), 2003-09-08
Author: Jay Solomon
Instead of the usual dinner and a movie, students can now head down to the 40th Street corridor for a more alternative evening activity.
Hookah -- an Eastern Mediterranean way of smoking flavored tobacco through a water pipe -- has made its debut at Simsum restaurant.
The addition of the new venue -- dubbed LaylaSimsum -- which opened last Thursday, stems from a collaboration between local business owner Amin Bitar and three entrepreneurial Penn students.

A breath of flavored air / Oxygen-bar trend returns to Austin with a twist: tobacco
Source: Austin (TX) American-Statesman, 2003-08-24
O2 is back on the menu for Austinites. At the Hookup Lounge, which looks like an improvised South Asian clubhouse just north of the University of Texas campus, one can inhale 10 to 20 minutes of Cloud Nine brand (ylang-ylang-flavored), Pleasure Zone (comes with a bright, minty aroma) or Rapture (a fruit fusion).
Entrepreneurs Ravi Maini and Ajay Rayasam, 24-year-old former UT students, got the idea of serving oxygen, fruit drinks and hookah-imbibed tobacco from travels among South Asian communities in Las Vegas, Houston, New York and Los Angeles. . . .
Though only a few regulars relaxed on sofas and around unmatched tables on a weekday afternoon, on any weekend night, as many as 22 hookahs -- the elaborate water pipes of Asian origin -- are fired up round the lounge. Smokers imbibe moist, scented, high-quality Jordanian tobaccos with flavorful names such as Sweet Melon, Licorice and Fruit Cocktail ($7-$10 an hour).
"You get a little buzz from it," says Maini.
Wait. People are smoking only a few inches from folks sucking air for their health?
Actually, the keenly filtered hookahs produce a smoke that dissipates almost instantly and does not cling to clothes. The pipes' enclosed tobacco chambers, located under two charcoal-like embers, are rigged so that customers can't exchange the Jordanian product for another commonly inhaled plant.

Hooked on hookahs / New Yorkers trade one vice for another

Source: New York Daily News, 2003-08-10
Lounges packed with the strangely shaped vessels are increasingly popular in the East Village and on the lower East Side. Despite the well-known health risks associated with smoking tobacco, many New Yorkers enjoy chatting, relaxing - and toking - in an Arabian Nights atmosphere. So much so that on weekends one can expect to wait 45 minutes for a table in the open-air hookah garden at Sahara East on First Ave.
"In the last two years, we have seen a rising trend," says Sam Pande, manager of Karma, another hookah lounge on First Ave. "Recently, with the smoking ban, the increase in business has gone one step further."
The lounges have secured tobacco-bar status, making them exempt from Mayor Bloomberg's smoking regulations.

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