Many Teen Hookah Smokers Don’t Recognize Health Risk

Many teenage hookah smokers do not recognize that the practice carries serious health risks, suggests a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). An estimated 18.5 percent of 12th graders said they used a hookah in the previous year.

More needs to be done to decrease the number of teens who smoke flavored tobacco from hookahs, the CDC states in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease. The report notes hookah smoke contains many of the same toxins as cigarettes. It has been associated with lung cancer and respiratory illness, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The researchers conclude the same interventions used in reducing cigarette smoking can be successfully used to reduce hookah smoking. These include raising the price of flavored tobacco smoked from hookahs, called shisha. They point out the price for a pound of hookah pipe tobacco is $22 lower than that for cigarette tobacco.

The CDC also calls for graphic labels on hookah tobacco products to warn smokers about health dangers, as well as removing sweet flavorings from shisha. Hookah bars should no longer be exempt from smoke-free laws, the researchers argue.

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