Magazine article USA TODAY

Water Pipe Epidemic among Young People

Magazine article USA TODAY

Water Pipe Epidemic among Young People

Article excerpt

Students in schools and universities in the U.S. and around the world are using water pipes to smoke tobacco at "alarmingly high" rates, according to a study by researchers at the University at Buffalo (N.Y). "Water pipe smoking is a real epidemic in the world and ifs picking up in the U.S., too," warns Elie Akl, associate professor of social and preventive medicine. While the research reveals the highest rates of water pipe smoking in Middle Eastern and Asian countries, where the practice has a centuries-long tradition, it has been found to be increasing in Western countries.

"The surveys included in this review found an alarming prevalence of water pipe smoking among middle and high school students in the U.S.," Akl stresses. "It was especially true of Arab-American students, who reported water pipe usage ranging from 12% to 15%." Approximately 10% of university students in the U.S. report water pipe smoking.

Akl says the findings should be a wake-up call to public health agencies, and that they need to address water pipe smoking in their tobacco-control strategies. …

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