Young Arab Americans in Michigan find their home in the hookah lounge

The hookah, also known as the hookah, hookah or champagne, is said to have its origins in India or Persia. These days, it is especially popular throughout the Middle East, but more and more lounges are also popping up in cities like Paris, Tokyo and New York. Farah Al Qasimi, who filmed this story, said it’s not surprising that coffee shops are popping up all over Dearborn, where “you really feel like you’re in an extension of the Arab world.”

Hookah smoking remains a cultural norm for many Arab Americans, despite the well-documented health risks of tobacco use. said Marie Rizk Hanna, an assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Nursing, who is researching the Vascular effects of tobacco products. Rizk Hanna said the chemicals in shisha smoke are actually similar to those in cigarette smoke.

Rizk Hanna also indicated that there are many lounges in the United States within three miles on campus, which may contribute to its popularity among young people. Research has shown that flavored tobacco products such as hookah make it easier to start, especially among younger users.

Like many young people in Dearborn, Marrim He started smoking hookah in high school. Despite public health messages bombarding her throughout her childhood, she says she wasn’t too concerned about the health risks of tobacco.

Young woman standing in front of an advertisement depicting a bedroom with a bed covered in a red floral blanket.  She wears a black shirt covered in blue butterflies, a cardigan and a black veil.

But she wrestles with guilt, shame and fear because her mother used to say that it was “haram” and “shame” – forbidden and shameful – for a woman to smoke. Had her mother warned of health risks, Marrimpictured below in front of a dollar store ad in Dearborn, said, “Maybe we’d listen.”

Still, Marrim I also felt a strong sense of liberation and community. She remembers being 13 years old and secretly making hookah out of water bottles with her cousin. “This is the age when you want to have secrets. You want to rebel a bit.”

Two shisha pipes on a table in a dimly lit indoor lounge.

There was one lounge, and one private cabin, “where life’s great events took place.” She said all her teenage memories are wrapped up in that space.

A young woman in a black long-sleeved crop top with a bow tie in front and black shorts is sitting in a hookah lounge.  She clutches the end of a long, clear plastic hose, and a cloud of smoke floats beside her head.

While today’s teens may not have the same legal access to hookah that you did, Marrim He thinks they will still find a way to smoke. “Children break the rules – that’s the way the world is,” she said. “We were all kids and we tried it for the first time,” she added. You can also do this in the secure lounge.