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Hookahs becoming increasingly popular

In recent years, there has been an increase in hookah use around the world, most notably among teens and young adults. The Monitoring the Future survey for 12th grade students found that in 2012, 18.3 percent of high school seniors in the U.S. had used hookahs in the past year, up from 17.1 percent in 2010. Other studies indicate that hookah smoking is more prevalent among college students in the United States, with past-year use ranging from 22 percent to 40 percent.

In their recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that while cigarette use among our nation’s youth decreased between 2011 and 2012, consumption of non-conventional tobacco products, like electronic cigarettes and hookahs, increased in that time period. The Food and Drug Administration currently does not regulate non-conventional products like hookahs and, alarmly, study after study show that these products are increasingly getting into the hands of America’s young people.

While many hookah smokers may consider this practice less harmful than smoking cigarettes, hookah smoking carries many of the same health risks. One reason is that smokers inhale charcoal combustion products when they smoke hookah. Another reason involves the way hookah is smoked, including frequent, high-volume puffs and long smoking sessions. In fact, multiple studies from several countries, including the U.S., show that in a single hookah session, hookah smokers are exposed to much greater amounts of toxicants than a cigarette smoker after a single cigarette. A typical one-hour hookah smoking session involves approximately 100 puffs, while an average cigarette is 10 puffs. A typical puff from a hookah can be 10 times the volume of a puff from a cigarette. Overall, a typical hookah smoking session involves inhaling 100 times the volume of smoke inhaled from a single cigarette. The smoke from a hookah contains many of the toxicants that are in cigarette smoke, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that cause cancer, volatile aldehydes that cause lung disease, nicotine that causes dependence, and carbon monoxide that is associated with cardiovascular disease.

Source: The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Written by: Dr. Thomas Eissenberg, Professor of Psychology and Co-director at the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products
Posted: Dec 06, 2013 by Lisa Callaham

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