Advice From a Caterpillar: Mainstreaming Hookah Consumption Into American Pop Culture

Merlyn Griffiths, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA
Tracy Harmon, Syracuse University, USA
Hookah smoking as a social phenomenon has taken hold in American popular culture, despite the barrage of anti-smoking messages in multiplicitous media outlets pointing to the dangers of smoking. Hookah lounges, cafes and bars are popping up in and around college campuses across the United States. As opposed to consumers of Middle Eastern, Indian, or Arabic decent, for whom hookah is a traditional part of the culture, the majority of customers attracted to this consumption activity are adolescents, teens and college kids from white suburban neighborhoods. Just what is the appeal of this practice, and to what might we attribute its epidemic-like spread in mainstream culture. We investigate this phenomenon and identify factors relating to attitudes, beliefs and attributed meanings that are contributing to the proliferation of hookah smoking.
[ to cite ]:
Merlyn Griffiths and Tracy Harmon (2009) ,"Advice From a Caterpillar: Mainstreaming Hookah Consumption Into American Pop Culture", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 866-866.