Teenagers struggle with so many issues, but the most common of which is addiction to banned substances.
The May 2013 issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) showed that drugs, alcohol and tobacco abuse and dependence affect 1.7 million U.S. adolescents aged 12-17 years, two-thirds of this population had reported illicit drug use disorder in 2011.
Using data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), CDC found that alcohol use and abuse were highest among teens living in the West. During 2010 and 2011, more than 28 percent of adolescents aged 12-17 reported using alcohol during the past year.
Meanwhile, nearly 700,000 12 to 17-year-olds are addicted to tobaaco. Ruth Perou, PhD, CDC’s Child Development Studies Team Leader, told NBC News that this addiction doesn’t pertain to casual user or experimentation, but serious addiction.
“You are looking at something that is debilitating and really impairs their ability to function day to day,” Perou explains.
Aside from alcohol and tobacco products, the most commonly abused substances were marijuana, cocaine, heroin, inhalants, and prescription drugs.
Perou said CDC is working to help come up with more approaches that work in treatment all substance abuse and mental health disorders that are killing the potentials of today’s youth. She invites parents and teachers to check CDC’s available information which can help in spotting risky behaviors in kids and teens.
A New York City Council member is happy that new research-based findings are coming up regarding the dangers associated with hookah. These evidences, after all, could help propel his efforts in preventing hookah bars from expanding.
“Hookah smoke can do as much or more damage than cigarette smoke because you have to inhale more deeply,” Councilman Vincent Gentile, a Brooklyn Democrat, told Crain’s New York. “In fact, one session of hookah can be like smoking 35 to 100 cigarettes.”
In 2010, Gentile introduced a bill that would prohibit new hookah bars from opening and existing hookah bars from expanding or moving to a new location. The legislation also requires existing establishments scofflaw hookah owners from illegally selling tobacco instead of shisha.
“We’re not trying to close down anybody who’s already in business,” Gentile added.
A recent study from the University of California San Francisco found that hookah smoking could increase levels of benzene and carbon monoxide, which ups a smoker’s risk for lung cancer and leukemia. The researchers confirmed that hookah doesn’t make a safer alternative to cigarette smoking given the toxins a person can inhale from it.
Three students from Temecula Middle School were disciplined after they were found selling hookah pens on campus.
Temecula Police officers were seen at the middle school on May 2 to investigate the incident which also involved four other students who were allegedly in possession of hookah pens.
Sgt. Lisa McConnell, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman, told SWRNN that she confirmed the disciplinary action from the school’s principal but did not elaborate the specific punishment given to the TMS students to maintain student privacy.
Hookah pens are electronic cigarettes that are advertised as having no nicotine and tar content. They are quickly gaining popularity among party goers, regular smokers, and teens who believe the products make better alternative to traditional cigarettes. A hookah pen is sold starting at $7.99 and up.
Under California law, selling of electronic cigarettes to minor is considered illegal. However, it was found that some teens in the region are obtaining hookah pens from various sources, including older siblings.
Melanie Norton, spokeswoman for the Temecula Valley Unified School District, said that the four other TMS students who were caught with hookah pens have likely received citations from Temecula Police for being under age and in possession of an item containing nicotine.
With all the negative effects being attached to hookah smoking lately, a new trend has started to emerge in the form of hookah pens. The question is: are they safe?
First let’s get to know more about it. What’s a hookah pen and how does it work?
Dr. Donald Bucklin, Regional Medical Director for U.S. HealthWorks, described a hookah pen in his op-ed article on Rocklin and Roseville Today as “an e-cigarette for the avant-garde.” That’s probably because it sports a stylish and colorful design that are quickly attracting the attention of club goers, regular smokers, and even some celebrities.
Hookah pens are available in different flavors, such as Grape, Vanilla, Coffee, Strawberry, Blueberry, Peach, Apple, and more. They are advertised as tobacco-, tar-, and nicotine-free.
Making up a hookah pen are the battery, the filling, and the evaporator. When you take a puff, the battery heats up the evaporator to vaporize a liquid that you inhale. At the end of a hookah pen is an LED light which illuminates every time you inhale.
In addition to being trendy, hookah pens are widely favored because they are portable that you can practically carry one anywhere you go. But at the end of the day, it all boils down to one very important question: do they make a safer alternative to hookah smoking?
As Dr. Bucklin pointed out: “The use of a hookah pen is not dangerous in and of itself.” However, they do not come without some consequences.
The biggest danger of hookah pens is they can encourage people to smoke more of it and may even lead to a certain level of addiction. People who use hookah pen may also experience throat ache or muscle aches given the product’s Propylene Glycol content.
It’s also noteworthy to understand that a hookah pen is only good for 500 up to 700 puffs, which means, if you are a heavy hookah smoker you may end up spending ten dollars a week or double that amount.
The long-term effect of smoking hookah pens, if there’s any, is not fully known. Some say that even though the product is being advertised as nicotine-free, it still contains very small amount of nicotine, the basic ingredient found in cigarettes. Now whether a hookah pen does have or doesn’t have nicotine content, the only way to know for sure if it’s okay or detrimental for your health is to talk with your health care provider before you start using it.
We know peer pressure to drink, smoke, and try drugs is very much felt once an individual reaches his/her adolescent period. But a new study found that when it comes to smoking, friends’ influence is greater in middle school than in high school.
Researchers from the University of Southern California looked into the data of more than 1,000 adolescents who took part in the Midwestern Prevention Project (MPP), a community-based substance abuse prevention program. They were surprised to find that friends’ influence to smoke has more effect in junior high than in high school.
“Based on social developmental model research, we thought friends would have more influence on cigarette use during high school than junior high school,” lead author Yue Liao, M.P.H., a doctoral student in the department of preventive medicine’s Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, said in a news release. “But what we found was friends have greater influence during junior high school than high school. We think the reason may be that friends’ cigarette use behavior may have a stronger influence on youth who start smoking at a younger age. During high school, cigarette use might represent the maintenance of behavior rather than a result of peer influence.”
The researchers has also observed gender difference in friends’ and parental influence. Friends’ influence on cigarette smoking was higher for girls than boys during 9th and 10th grade. However, there was an increasing trend in friends’ influence from 9th to 11th among boys, whereas friends and parents had less influence on girls from 10th to 12th grade.
Liao said this could be explained by the fact that boys tend to foster friendship by engaging in shared behavior, while girls are more focused on emotional sharing.
The researchers hope their findings would pave the way for an improved intervention program in cigarette smoking primarily geared towards middle school students. Liao also recommends future study on sibling effects for a more complete picture of familial influence.
We’ve heard public health officials say shisha smoking is not any better than traditional cigarette smoking, and a new study found evidence that would back that warning up.
Researchers at the University of California San Francisco studied eight men and five women who smoked both shisha and cigarettes for a specific period during the study. The volunteers were then asked to undergo urine test and blood test to measure the toxins inhaled from shisha smoking.
According to research chemist Peyton Jacob III, PhD, and UCSF tobacco researcher Neal Benowitz, MD, both based at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, those who smoked shisha has increased levels of benzene and carbon monoxide.
Benzene has been shown to increase one’s risk for developing leukemia, while carbon monoxide is especially dangerous to people with heart or respiratory conditions.
“People want to know if it is a lesser health risk if they switch from cigarettes to smoking a water pipe on a daily basis,” Jacob said in a university news release. “We found that water-pipe smoking is not a safe alternative to cigarette smoking, nor is it likely to be an effective harm-reduction strategy.”
The researchers also found the heat coming from shisha smoking causes chemical reactions that could up one’s chances for lung cancer.
“In addition to delivering toxic substances from the charcoal and tobacco, the heat causes chemical reactions in the mixture which produce toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs),” Jacob explained. “Some PAHs are highly carcinogenic and can cause lung cancer.”
Shisha, also widely known as hookah, has been popularized in Middle Eastern countries. In the United States, a 2009 survey showed three in ten university students had tried shisha smoking at least one occasion. But even though many people think it is a safer alternative to cigarettes, health experts warn that shisha use and exposure can result to equally harmful health problems.