According to a study published in Pediatrics, one in five high school seniors in the United States has smoked hookah. What’s more alarming is that according to another study from Nursing Research, the majority of teens who smoke hookah are under the (false) impression that it’s a safe hobby.
Mary Rezk-Hanna, a UCLA nursing doctoral student and lead author of one of these studies, said that 16 percent of hookah bar patrons she surveyed thought that hookah smoke lacked nicotine, and wasn’t addictive. And 56 percent said that hookah wasn’t harmful to their health at all. Around half of those surveyed thought that the pipes, which generally have several feet of hose for the smoke to travel through, somehow “filtered out” the toxic components with air and water. Some even thought that the tasty flavors given to hookah smoke, which can be delightfully fruity, served to make them less toxic.
The FDA recently announced that it would create regulations for other methods of consuming nicotine, though it’s likely that the agency will focus on electronic cigarettes. Cheaper and more convenient than a water pipe, but with all the same fun flavors and misconceptions about health, these pose a more immediate threat to the health of U.S. teens.
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