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Waterpipes to smoke tobacco prevalent

BUFFALO, N.Y., April 27 (UPI) — Teens, young adults and even pregnant women worldwide are using waterpipes to smoke tobacco at high rates, University at Buffalo researchers said.

Dr. Elie Akl, an associate professor at University at Buffalo’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and School of Public Health and Health Professions, conducted a systematic review involving 38 studies on the prevalence of waterpipe smoking across several countries including — Britain, Australia, Estonia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen — age groups and genders.

“Waterpipe smoking is a real epidemic in the world and it’s picking up in the United too,” Akl, the lead author for the study review, said in a statement. “The surveys included in this review found an alarming prevalence of waterpipe smoking among middle- and high-school students in the U.S. This was especially true of Arab-American students, who reported waterpipe usage ranging from 12 percent to 15 percent.”

Six percent in Pakistan say they use waterpipes to smoke tobacco, 4 percent to 12 percent in the Persian Gulf region, 11 percent in Australia among Arab-speaking adults and 15 percent in Lebanon. Group waterpipe smoking was 5 percent in Lebanon, 11 percent to 15 percent in Egypt, and in Lebanon, 5 percent to 6 percent of pregnant women also reported waterpipe smoking, Akl said.

The study, published in Biomedical Health Central Public Health, found about 10 percent of university students in the U.S. reported waterpipe smoking.

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