April 6, 2011 - CigarettesReviews.com | CigarettesReviews.com

Daily Archives: April 6, 2011

Hookah Use Among San Diego Teens Rivals Cigarette Use

An alternative and harmful form of tobacco use, known as the hookah or water pipe, may be spreading among youth in the United States according to researchers from the University of California, San Diego’s Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and San Diego State University. This trend is emerging even as cigarette smoking among high school students is on the decline nationally.

The team of researchers examined patterns of use, risk perception, and psychosocial risk factors among users, former users, and hookah usenonusers of hookah at three San Diego high schools. The paper, “Determinants of Hookah Use among High School Students,” was published in the April edition of Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

Wael Al-Delaimy, MD, PhD, associate professor and chief of the Division of Global Health in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at UCSD School of Medicine is the team’s senior author and a research expert in the field of tobacco control. “Our study suggests that hookah smoking is taking hold in some high school-aged students at a rate higher than previously reported, which is rather alarming as an emerging public health problem,” said Al-Delaimy. “Our data show that inaccurate perception about hookah harmfulness, its social acceptability, and presence of hookah lounges in residential areas, is driving the higher use among the teens in our study.”

More than a quarter of the surveyed students (26.1 percent) reported they have tried hookah, and 10.9percent smoked hookah in the past month, which is comparable to the percentage of high school students in this study population who smoked cigarettes in the past month (11 percent). Furthermore, close to one third of hookah users have no intention of quitting this habit.

“Understanding the hookah habits of teens is important because a person’s tobacco use pattern – whether or not, and how often – is usually established by age 18,” said Al-Delaimy. “Hookah use is related to diseases, including coronary heart disease, adverse pulmonary effects and cancers of the lung, mouth and bladder. Hookah smoke also contains many of the same carcinogens and heavy metals as cigarette smoke; longer hookah smoking sessions, combined with increased smoke volume, makes it potentially more dangerous than cigarettes.”

Joshua Smith, PhD, from Al-Delaimy’s laboratory, surveyed 689 students from three high schools within San Diego County and found more than half of the students first learned about hookah from friends (50.3 percent) and another 20.9 percent learned about it when they saw a nearby hookah lounge.

“The concern here is that the students surveyed believed hookah use to be more socially acceptable than cigarettes, and friends seem to be introducing this habit to others. They also believe it is less harmful than cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco, which has not been reported previously among high school students,” said Smith.

Researchers recommend that the legality of hookah lounges in California and other states be addressed, adding that the banning of one product (cigarettes) with the legality of another (hookah) may suggest an element of reduced risk associated.

“Policy makers and the tobacco research community should reassess priorities for this age group and address the growing hookah epidemic through continued research, media messaging, and restrictions on hookah lounges,” said Al-Delaimy.

In addition to Al-Delaimy, the research team includes Joshua Smith, PhD, MPH, UCSD Department of Family and Preventive Medicine; Tomas E. Novotny, MD, MPH, San Diego State University; Steven D. Edland, PhD, UCSD Department of Family and Preventive Medicine; Richard Hostetter, PhD, San Diego State University; and Suzanne P. Lindsay, PhD, MSW, MPH, San Diego State University.

Big tobacco puts pressure on lawmakers for Dosal tax

Employees from tobacco companies around Florida, including RJ Reynolds and Altria, want Miami-based Dosal Tobacco to start showing the state some money.

About 200 people from the group Citizens for Fairness in Florida, a group representing large tobacco corporations, rallied in Tallahassee Tuesday in support of legislation that makes Dosal Tobacco Corporation pay a fee assessed on cigarettes that other companies pay as part of a 1997 settlement between the state and big tobacco that netted the state $11.3 billion to help pay for health care costs.

Dosal, like many small cigarette manufacturers, was left out of the settlement, but bigger companies have argued that the fee puts them at a competitive disadvantage.

“When a doctor asks you if you smoke, it does not matter what brand,” said Jim Smith, president of Citizens for Fairness in Florida. “They know a cigarette is a cigarette.”

The legislation, HB 1207 by Rep. John Tobia, R-Melbourne, would impose a 2.6 cent fee on cigarette packs sold by manufacturers who were not a part of the 1997 agreement. The bill, though, has not been put on the agenda yet for any committees. It has languished in years past as well because legislative leadership has not supported additional taxes.