Hookah Use Among High School Students

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Story Updated: Jul 8, 2014

In recent years, more and more American teens have been saying no to cigarettes. That's the good news. The bad news is that, at the same time, more and more have been exploring alternative means for inhaling tobacco or tobacco-like substances. One includes the use of water-based "hookahs" a centuries-old form of herbal smoking, involving heated glass and pipes.

Now a large new survey finds that in the U.S. hookahs common throughout the Middle East and South Asia have become particularly trendy among high schoolers. In fact, the poll published in the journal Pediatrics revealed that out of roughly 5,500 high school seniors 18% used a hookah in the past year. Hookah use was more common among boys, whites, urban dwellers, and those from highly educated households. Teens with more cash in hand used hookahs more frequently as did current and past smokers and users of illicit drugs or alcohol.

The findings suggest that many teens may mistakenly believe that hookahs are safer than cigarettes a misconception, say the researchers.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the information you need to protect your health.

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