Hookah’s Healthy Alternative Claims Go Up in Smoke

You may have heard that smoking hookah is better for you than smoking cigarettes. Turns out, it’s all in how you define “better.” A recent study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention indicates that smoking hookah, or water pipes, may be more dangerous than originally thought.


Hookahs most often consist of a head connected to a water jar with a hose attached and a mouthpiece. Flavored tobacco is placed below burning charcoal in the head, and the resultant vapor is cooled then smoked. In the United States, Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, studies indicate a significant increase in hookah smoking. This increase is especially evident in younger people. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 teens smoke hookah, and as many as 40 percent of U.S. college students report using a water pipe.

This increase is likely due to the popularly held belief that hookah are less harmful than cigarettes. However, the study results show otherwise.

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University of California Bans Tobacco Products from All Campuses

eight cigarettes unlitFor students who attend any of the 10 different University of California schools, quitting smoking will soon become much easier. Why? Because the schools’ president, Mark Yudof, recently announced that all tobacco products will soon be banned from school campuses.

“As a national leader in healthcare and environmental practices, the University of California is ready to demonstrate leadership in reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke,” Yudof wrote in a letter. “Offering a smoke-free environment will contribute positively to the health and well-being of all U.C. students, faculty, staff, and our patients and visitors.”

There are not any known specifics concerning the ban yet, except that it will apply to everyone who is on a University of California campus. In addition to banning the products, advertisements and the sale of tobacco products will also no longer be allowed.

“This is a very important milestone in California,” said Colleen Stevens. Stevens is the chief of the tobacco control branch of the California Public Health Department. “In other states, most young people start smoking in their teens, but in California, that start date is getting older. This policy will help protect the next generation from suffering the horrible impacts of tobacco.”

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Many College Campuses are Now 100 Percent Tobacco-Free

Everyone knows that you can’t smoke inside a college building or within 25-feet of any entrance door. However, some college campuses are now becoming entirely smoke-free in an effort to create a healthier and tobacco-free campus.

Last summer, students and staff members at the University of Kentucky patrolled the campus, and when they saw anyone smoking – student, employee, or visitor – they politely asked the smoker to dispose of his/her cigarette. In return for the cigarette, the members of Tobacco-free Take Action! would give the smokers information about resources on campus that would help them quit smoking.

The events at the University of Kentucky are not new to college campuses: there have been more than 500 campuses in the USA that have become 100 percent smoke-free or tobacco-free. There have been 120 campuses that adopted the smoke-free policy in the past year alone.

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20 Percent of High School Students are Smokers

We all know the negative side effects of smoking. It makes your breath stink, you get wrinkles earlier, and I won’t even mention all of the types of lung diseases or cancers you can get from smoking.teen smoking

In the past, there were many anti-smoking campaigns aimed at younger people. However, the hot topic in health care today is obesity. Some public health experts believe these anti-obesity campaigns have taken the focus off of preventing students from using tobacco products. Unfortunately, a recent survey confirms this by showing that 19.5 percent of high school students are smokers.

Why are students using tobacco? Terry Pechacek of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention thinks that “people are getting the image that it’s cool to use nicotine as a drug.” Read the rest of this entry »

Number of Smokers is Down on College Campuses

Here’s some encouraging public health news.  According to a recent study by the American Lung Association, smoking is at an all-time low on college and university campuses across America.

On the other hand, warns the ALA, the news isn’t all good.  One out of five students still smoke.  Moreover, back in the early 1990s, there was a huge spike in college smoking after the percentage dropped down near its current 20 percent — so there’s reason to be nervous about another spike.

The ALA further reports that Big Tobacco is as aggressive as ever in promoting smoking on campus, spending a whopping $1 million a day on events and giveaways to promote their products.  Perhaps this isn’t surprising, since these companies can’t promote products directly to high school students — so they target college students instead as the “next best thing,” since virtually all smokers pick up the habit when they’re young.

The ALA offers some great recommendations to college campuses for fighting back against Big Tobacco.  These include prohibiting smoking on campus, refusing research dollars from tobacco companies, stopping the sale and advertising of tobacco on campus, and providing smoking cessation programs.


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