What’s All the Hoopla about Hookah?
Just as the Internet is no longer limited to computers, tobacco use is no longer limited to cigarettes. As more restrictive anti-smoking laws are placed on the books, tobacco producers are finding different ways to keep consumers. Cigars are still popular, ranking number two in use among youth. Did you know that smoking one large cigar is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes, with 40 times the amount of nicotine? Smokeless tobacco is on the rise in the form of electronic cigarettes. However, it still has harmful effects such as oral cancer, pancreatic cancer, addiction to nicotine, leukemia, stained teeth, and bad breath. Thirty minutes of use is equivalent to smoking three cigarettes. An ancient form of smoking is finding new popularity among teens, especially in college towns. A Hookah is a water pipe used to smoke moist tobacco by using indirect heat. Burning charcoal is placed on top of moist tobacco (flavored with fruit and honey), then pulled through water. As the tobacco moves through the water, it cools, making it a smoother experience for the smoker. The prevalent belief among teens is that Hookah poses less danger to their health than cigarettes or cigars. However, the truth is that because of the smoothness and the flavored tobacco, Hookah smokers actually inhale deeper (500 ml. per puff as opposed to 50 ml. with a cigarette). In addition, Hookah smokers are led to believe that the moist tobacco does not have any tar, when in fact it has 36 times more tar than a cigarette. Tar is produced when the tobacco is burned.
No tobacco is a good tobacco. Considering that nicotine is one of the more difficult substances to withdraw from, the best way to handle tobacco prevention is to educate children early and often. Search for child-friendly anti-tobacco websites and view them with your kids. While protecting your child’s health, you are also spending quality time with him or her, instilling your values, and teaching positive use of the internet.
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