Are Teenagers Setting Themselves Up for Heart Disease?

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Filed Under: Heart Health, General Health
Last Reviewed 07/17/2014

Are Teenagers Setting Themselves Up for Heart Disease?

If you have teenage children, or grandchildren, I hope you’ll help me share this important information…

I recently read an article that said one in three college students has smoked hookah. Hookah is a blend of molasses, fruit, and tobacco that’s smoked through a water pipe. Since it has a more pleasing smell than cigarettes, and the tobacco is filtered through a water pipe, many people are lulled into thinking its not as bad as traditional smoking. But the truth is hookah is worse.
 
Hookah contains the same harmful compounds as cigarettes. Plus, since one smoking session can last 45 minutes (or longer), it’s equivalent to smoking about 50 regular cigarettes. One study suggested that hookah smokers inhale 100 times more harmful smoke from hookah than a cigarette. 
 
As a cardiologist, this concerns me greatly. Smoking is a prime risk factor for heart disease. Smoke damages the heart and blood vessels and increases the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). It can also cause sludgy, inflamed blood.  In fact, even light or occasional smoking or inhaling secondhand smoke can contribute to heart disease. 
 
Plus, like regular cigarettes, hookah can cause lung cancer later in life. In fact, an epidemiological study conducted by a researcher at the American Cancer Society, found that who smoked water pipes experienced lung cancer at five times the rate of non-smokers. 
 
This is something we need to get the word out about now, before young people cause irreparable damage to their health.
 
Now it’s your turn: Have you noticed the rise of this dangerous trend?
 

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