Forty-three Percent of College Students Use Hookahs

A new study from the Virginia Commonwealth University found that over 40% of college students use hookahs and mistakenly believe they do not pose a danger to health.

Hookahs are water pipes popular in the Middle East.

Dr. Thomas Eissenberg surveyed 744 students 18 to 21 years old and found that 43% had smoked a hookah in the past year and 20% had smoked hookah in the past month.

Most believe that because hookah smoke passes through a water-filled chamber it is safer than smoking cigarettes. However, the opposite is true: It can take an hour or more to smoke a hookah compared to 10 to 15 minutes for a cigarette. Consequently, hookah smokers inhale one hundred times more smoke.

This study appears in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Smoking Laws Cut Down Teen Rates of Cigarette Use

Teens who live in towns where there are strict bans on smoking in restaurants and public places are 40% less likely to become smokers, according to a new study in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health kept track of 2,791 children ages 12 to 17 living in Massachusetts over a period of four years. In towns without smoking bans, about 10% of teens developed a smoking habit compared to 8% who lived in towns with such rules. The study also found that having a parent or friend who smoked increased the chances of a teen’s experimenting with cigarettes.

Lead author Dr. Michael Siegel said that smoking laws discourage tobacco use. “There is really no other smoking intervention program that could cut almost in half the rate of smoking,” he said. “When kids grow up in an environment where they don’t see smoking, they are going to think it is not socially acceptable.”

Movie Stars Who Smoke Influence Kids to Do the Same

When American film stars smoke cigarettes on screen, they influence not only teens in the USA to smoke, but also young people all over the world.

New studies at universities in Mexico and Germany found that celebrity smoking in films functions like an ad for smoking. The German study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that those teens who have seen the most cinema smoking are twice as likely to try cigarettes themselves. A recent study published in Pediatrics journal concluded that three out of four movies feature smoking, and 61% of them are youth-rated.

American scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health are recommending that movies do not show specific brands of cigarettes. They also recommend that only adult movies should contain images of smokers, and that anti-smoking ads should air prior to the film.