Healthy or Not, the Hookah Habit Is Hot

The latest student craze is smoking the ancient Middle Eastern water pipe

On his last night of finals before the winter break at the University of California, Los Angeles, junior Aaron Rothe, 20, was ready to celebrate. So together with a couple of buddies, he made his way to a local cafe, where they sparked up a water pipe and took turns inhaling its piquant smoke. No, California hasn't legalized the recreational use of marijuana. At cafes around UCLA and in college towns across the country, students are passing around the hookah, the ancient Middle Eastern water pipe filled with sweetened tobacco.

For centuries, men in the Middle East have gathered around hookahs...

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