Cigarette Smoking Goes Down, But Hookah Gets Popular Among School Students

Cigarette and cigar smoking among middle and high school students has slumped in recent years, but the use of e-cigarettes and hookahs has jumped over the period, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is quite a perturbing news as hookah can be detrimental to their health over time.

The CDC gleaned through the data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey and observed the disturbing trend. The national survey, which was initiated in 2011, contains information collected from 20,000 middle and high school students across the country every year from 2011 to 2015.

E-cigarettes were promoted by companies as a safer alternative to tobacco smoking. Experts also recommended them to people who wanted to quit tobacco smoking. E-cigarette companies are trying every trick in the book to lure gullible youths who are trying to quit or want to keep tobacco at bay. Most of the times, the marketing ploys manage to entice unsuspecting youngsters into the world of smoking.

Hookah carries ‘cool quotient’ for youngsters

The most endearing (and the most dangerous as well) aspect of hookah is that it is considered cool to smoke. Young people are drawn to hookah like moths are attracted towards light. A hookah is a water pipe used to smoke flavored tobacco or non-tobacco products.

The abstainers smoke non-tobacco products in a bid to stay away from smoking tobacco. But this habit of puffing through the hookah lays the foundation for any future use of tobacco products for them, say experts.

Water in pipe does not make hookah safe

Hookah is fast becoming a fad among the youth because of its use of flavored tobacco. This can be highly habit forming. In fact, hookah is not just as dangerous as cigarette smoke, but far more ominous than that. In a one-hour hookah smoking session, a smoker puffs 100 to 200 times the volume of inhaled smoke from a single cigarette.

One common perception is that the water in the pipe filters the tobacco, making it safe to smoke. However, this is a myth.

Studies have revealed that water may cool the smoke, but it cannot filter out the toxins. On the contrary, the water-filtered smoke can damage the lungs and heart. Smoking too much hookah is also associated with higher level of benzene, a chemical that can cause leukemia.

Hookah has 72 times more tar than cigarette

Smoke from hookah contains cancer-causing substances, just like cigarette smoke, but with higher levels of arsenic, lead, and nickel than a single cigarette and 72 times more tar. One can imagine how much toxicity a smoker is exposed to during one-hour of hookah smoking session. It is dangerous just like any tobacco smoke.

Other ills related to smoking hookah include low-birth weight, a significant drop in oxygen consumption, cancer, respiratory illness, periodontal disease and cardiac disease. Those who think that it is safer to smoke non-tobacco products through a hookah are only dwelling in a fool’s paradise.

Recovery road map

Being an addict is not the end of the road. Detoxification is possible for anyone who is keen on going sober. With the developments in the field of health, almost every substance use disorder can be treated with timely intervention.

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