Hookahs and Waterpipes: Cultural Tradition or Addictive Trap?

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Comments on an article by Thomas Eissenberg, Kenneth D. Ward, Stephanie Smith-Simone and Wasim Maziak (see record [rid]2008-04737-015[/rid]). The study reports that nearly 50% lifetime prevalence rate and a 20% past 30-day use rate among first-year college students at Virginia Commonwealth University. This is concerning, because addiction to nicotine develops extremely rapidly. Even a single or casual exposure to nicotine can changes the brain's receptors, contributing to development of addiction; and adolescents in several large studies report a loss of autonomy over tobacco even after a single cigarette. Thus the idea that it is safe to be an "experimental" smoker is an incorrect, antiquated concept. The prevalence that Eisenberg and colleagues report, although varying slightly from other small surveys, suggests that a serious problem already exists among youth in our country and in many others. The findings have implications for inclusion of waterpipes and their marketing to young adults in implementing prevention strategies. Efforts to eliminate adolescents' exposure to tobacco must recognize hookah use and promotion as just another attempt at creating addiction to nicotine. Hookah products should be included in counter-marketing efforts, clean indoor air regulations, and other policy initiatives designed to prevent nicotine addiction and tobacco use. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)




Klein, J. D. (2008, May). Hookahs and Waterpipes: Cultural Tradition or Addictive Trap? Journal of Adolescent Health, 42(5), 434–435. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.02.006

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