Tips for Parents
The Hookah Hook
"I think that's a key finding," Dr. Brian Primack, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at Pitt's medical school, told the Chicago Sun-Times (9/7/08). "There's an overlap in a lot of people (who have smoked both) but there were over a third of the people smoking water pipes who would otherwise have never touched a cigarette...
(Hookahs) are reaching a group of young people who otherwise would have been nicotine- and tobacco-naive... We don't really know what the implication of that is. Some people might say that it wouldn't make a difference: Somebody who is exposed to a few water pipe sessions, that might not change their risk of later using tobacco products. But I think there are a lot of researchers who would be concerned and say that even intermittent exposure at this age to nicotine and tobacco will increase their likelihood of becoming addicted to nicotine and continuing to the same."
Shisha, the hookah tobacco that is often flavored with molasses, dried fruit or honey, is often thought to be less harmful than cigarette tobacco. This isn't the case, according to the American Cancer Society. On its website, it says, "Hookahs are marketed as being a safe alternative to cigarettes. This claim is false. The water does not filter out many of the toxins. In fact, hookah smoke has been shown to contain concentrations of toxins, such as carbon monoxide, nicotine, ‘tar' and heavy metals, that are as high or higher than are seen with cigarette smoke."
Source: Chicago Sun-Times, 9/7/08; American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org
Source: American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org
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