US teens now get hooked on hookah

Hookah is fast becoming a popular alternative to cigarettes among American teens, with one in five high school seniors admitting to have tried hookah smoking, according to a new study. While cigarette use is sharply declining among youth, evidence indicates that American adolescents are turning to ethically-linked and other alternative tobacco products, such as hookahs, cigars and various smokeless tobacco products, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers found that one in give high school seniors has smoked a hookah and those of higher socioeconomic status are more likely to use it.

The study, by researchers affiliated to New York University’s Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR), used data from Monitoring the Future, an ongoing annual study of the behaviors, attitudes and values of US secondary school students. The survey was conducted in approximately 130 public and private schools throughout 48 states in the US. Roughly 15,000 high school seniors are assessed annually. The study examined data from the 5,540 students who were asked about hookah use from 2010-2012. The researchers found the annual prevalence (use in the last 12 months) of hookah use was nearly 1 in 5 high-school seniors.

“Students of higher socioeconomic status appear to be more likely to use hookah,” said Joseph J Palamar, a CDUHR affiliated researcher and an assistant professor of population health at NYU Langone Medical Center.

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