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Study shows hookah use on the rise among US teens

A new study states that the use of hookah in the United States has seen a dramatic increase among teenagers. The study, published Monday, reports that 1 in 5 teens use hookah. At the same time, the study says the cigarette smoking is on the decline.

A study shows hookah use among teens has increased.
A study shows hookah use among teens has increased.
Flickr Creative Commons, Chelsea Marie Hicks

The study’s lead author states why this is so alarming. He points to the misconception that the water in hookah filters out the harmful parts. However, he says that hookah is not any less harmful than cigarettes. It is also not any less addictive.

According to the Detroit Free Press, research has shown that hookahs can actually deliver tar and nicotine in higher doses than cigarettes. The CDC reports that even hookahs that use herbal-based shisha contain materials, that when smoked, can contribute to cancer associated with tobacco cigarettes.

The study found that while the use of hookah has increased, those who are using it are more likely to come from families where the families had higher levels of education and incomes. On the other hand, kids who were more likely to smoke cigarettes came from families with a lower socioeconomic status. The study also says that males, white students, cigarette smokers, and those who have already tried marijuana and alcohol are those most likely to use hookah.

The study looked at the behaviors of 5,540 high school seniors living across the country between 2010 and 2012. The study from the University of Michigan showed that hookah smoking rose to 21 percent and that cigarette smoking declined from 40 percent in 2012 to 38 percent in 2013.

The study did note that overall, hookah smoking is still a rare activity and not necessarily a habit. However, it still highlights the lack of education about hookah and how that must improve so that all the facts are available about whether hookah is dangerous or not.