Hookah Smoking Dramatically Increases Among Teens

Hookah Smoking Dramatically Increases Among Teens

A new report shows more teens than ever before smoke Hookah because they think it's safe, but local doctors say that's not true.
MIDLAND, TX, (Local Big 2 News) - A new report in the journal of pediatrics shows a dramatic increase in the number of teens and young adults who smoke hookah pipes. In a surprising twist, the report shows teens with wealthy parents are more likely to smoke hookah because they think it's cool.

"It's more socially acceptable among them because they think it's "safer" which it's definitely not," says Midland Memorial Hospital Physician Daniel Gehard.

Midland Memorial Hospital Physician Dan Gebhard explains it's a misconception hookah is safer than cigarettes.

"The coal that you burn exposes you to heavy metals and other carbon monoxide and stuff like that that's burned in the charcoal," he says.

"In a typical setting of hookah usage, you can get as much smoke as the equivalent to 100 cigarettes, so it's a huge, huge, huge amount," says West Texas Allergy Physician Miguel Wolbert.

The report shows one in five high school seniors smoking hookah.

"Those numbers are really pretty astronomical, what we know is that cigarette smoking has started to decrease, but the use of hookah has increased," laments Wolbert.

One Odessa parent who recently saw his children graduate believes hookah smoking is all the rage among his kid's friends.

"Both of them would talk about you know, hookah smoking was something that the kids just started to do, something like the synthetic drugs that came out too," explains Bill Ybarra.

Ybarra is thankful his kids resist the peer pressure.

"They have friends that smoke, we have family members that smoke, they've been around it, they've just chosen not to do those things," he adds.

Doctor Wolbert tells me those who smoke hookah are more likely to engage in other risky behaviors, such as marijuana and heavy drinking.

"If you know your child has used hookah, you may want to feel out, and be aware of those other issues too," Wolbert suggests.

Ybarra explains his approach to having a conversation with your child.

"We try to instill our values in them, we don't try to push our beliefs on them and kind of let them make their own decisions," says Ybarra.

He believes teens finding more productive and healthy ways to spend their time may be the best alternative to smoking.

"They play softball, they're athletic, and part of that athleticism has led them not to get involved in that kind of thing because it takes away from them being able to be a good athlete."
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