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Hookah thought of as safer than cigarettes
These days, kids of every age are well aware that cigarette smoking is bad for your health. But, somehow teens got the false idea that smoking hookah is safer than smoking cigarettes. A study published in a recent issue of Pediatrics found that 18 percent of high school seniors have tried hookah but a new study by the University of California, San Francisco, proves that this trend in teen smoking could be fatal.
And Dr. Raymond Casciari of St. Joseph Hospital agrees. "The human lung continues to grow and mature until the late teens for girls and the early 20s for boys," explains Dr. Casciari. "Immature lungs are more susceptible to toxins, which has been proven over and over again in studies with clove cigarettes and regular cigarettes. Contrary to popular belief and current marketing, Hookah smoking delivers at least as many toxins as cigarette smoking and possibly more."
Profile for teen hookah smokers
Now, not every teen is lighting up the water pipe; the study found that teens with access to a weekly income or whose parents were well-educated were most likely to turn to hookah smoking for kicks. And, while tobacco flavors like green apple and bubble gum make it popular with the younger crowd, those enticing aromas won't mask the fact that hookah smoking is more dangerous to your health than traditional cigarettes.
Opportunity is the issue
Most baffling to me is the fact that despite the smoking ban in most public establishments, loopholes allow more and more hookah smoking lounges to pop up at an alarming rate. But, at-home hookahs make it easy for underage users to puff away, too. So, how do we keep our kids from picking up the hookah pipe?
Talking to adults that smoked hookah as teens, it sounds like hookah was a form of entertainment for those like Geena Martinez of California. Going to the park and smoking the water pipe seemed like a harmless alternative to bad-tasting cigarettes — and being stuck at home at 15 years old. Peer pressure is also a factor, explains Caroline Carriera of Nevada. So I have my own strategy in mind. I for one plan on emphasizing the disgusting possibility that sharing a hookah pipe can expose you to infectious diseases like herpes, influenza, tuberculosis and more. Just gross them out into submission.
But, for parents who have teenagers under your roof already, schooling your family on the risks of hookah and hitting the water pipe should be top priority because hookah could be killing your teen.
The dangers of hookah are linked to:
- Increased leukemia risk
- Greater heart risks compared to smoking cigarettes
- Nervous system damage
- Eye, nose and throat irritation
- Damage to red blood cells
- Lung caner