Smoking Virginia and other smoking brands among teens has long been seen as a problem, but a new state study alleges that the popularity of “hookah” tobacco is on the rise among Oregon teens. A report released this week by the Oregon Department of Human Services found that more Oregon teens are smoking hookah tobacco, also known as ‘shisha’, than ever before.
The 2010 Indoor Clean Air Act Compliance Study, conducted by the Oregon Public Health Division, found that teens carry the misconception that hookah is a safer alternative, and isn’t as harmful as cigarettes.
The report says that the increase is due in part to the growing number of hookah lounges that target young people.
“The popularity of hookah smoking that we’ve seen among young people is putting us in a one-step-forward, two-steps-back situation in the battle against tobacco use,” said Katrina Hedberg, M.D., M.P.H., administrator and state epidemiologist in the state’s Office of Disease Prevention and Epidemiology.
State health officials say hookah is addictive, contains nicotine, and can cause lung cancer, heart disease and other complications, just like cigarettes. DHS also says the burning charcoal in the pipe can create additional health risks.