In the past several years, hookah smoking has increased in popularity among teens. According to a study recently published in Pediatrics, 18 percent of students have smoked hookah, based on a survey of 5,540 high school seniors, and many believed hookah smoking was safer than smoking cigarettes.
Hookahs are water pipes used to smoke flavored tobacco and can vary in size and shape. Because smoking hookah allows for the user to absorb the nicotine and smoke from the tobacco, users may be at risk for absorbing higher levels of nicotine due to longer smoking sessions and amount of smoke inhaled with each use.
While more research is being conducted on the topic, it is important to raise awareness about the dangers of hookah smoking when talking to your child. The following tips can helpful when discussing tobacco use and the effects of smoking:
- Start talking to children about smoking at an early age; most kids have the opportunity to try smoking around age 11.
- Talk to your child with an open and judgment-free attitude.
- Encourage children to get involved in activities that prohibit smoking such as sports or clubs.
- If your child does smoke, try to find out the reasoning behind their behavior. If friends are pressuring them, talk to them about alternative ways to handle the situation.
- Continue to discuss the hazards of smoking and the harmful health effects over the years.
Most importantly, if you smoke, the best advice is to quit. By committing to a smoke-free lifestyle, you are showing your commitment to living a healthy life for you and your children.