The Myths About Hookah

hookah_lizard1[heape]While there have been declines in teen cigarette use, other forms of tobacco (hookah, e-cigarettes) are gaining in popularity among teens. According to the nationwide Monitoring the Future study, 21 percent of high school seniors smoked a water pipe device, commonly known as a hookah, sometime in the last year.

Teens often may not know that hookah smoking can be as dangerous as cigarettes.

Here are some common myths about hookah smoking:

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A New Mural in Honor of World No Tobacco Day

705A picture is worth a thousand words.

That’s why students at the High School for Medical Professions in Canarsie, Brooklyn decided to show their friends and peers why they should kick the habit of smoking. On May 21, 2014, in honor of World No Tobacco Day, the students unveiled a mural showing the health effects of smoking that they had painted on their school’s cafeteria wall.

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World No Tobacco Day: The Real Price New Yorkers Pay for Tobacco Use

10376861_798497033495790_2746208451155712568_nTeens and health advocates denounced the tobacco industry for recruiting youth smokers and called for higher NYC tobacco prices at a press conference on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 in Times Square. Currently, 20,000 NYC public high school students smoke. One-third of them, approximately 6,600, will die prematurely from smoking. To represent the terrible cost tobacco imposes on New Yorkers’ lives, the Coalition unveiled an art installation: “6,600” spelled out with children’s shoes.

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The SMART Choice in Sweden

Slim Liden of SMART and Sheelah Feinberg

Slim Liden of SMART and Sheelah Feinberg

We recently talked with Slim Laden of SMART, a Swedish non-profit organization that works to prevent youth smoking and drug use.

Slim was visiting New York on his way to Washington, DC to present at a conference on tobacco-free active living and healthy eating in low socioeconomic status communities. He learned of the Coalition on Twitter (through our Flat Phil Project).

The main goal of SMART’s work is to prevent or delay smoking initiation among youth. Compared to those teens who never smoked, 12- to 17-year olds who smoke are more than five times likelier to drink and 13 times likelier to use marijuana. SMART believes that preventing kids from smoking and encouraging them to make healthy choices also helps to reduce alcohol and drug abuse.

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An Increase in Poisonings

p0403-e-cigarette-poisonA new concern has arisen in the debate over the safety of e-cigarettes—poison.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that the number of calls to poison control centers related to e-cigarette exposure rose from one a month in September 2010 to 215 a month in February 2014. More than half of the reported exposures were among young children.

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NYC Youth ‘Kick Butts’

kick butts dayHundreds of youth in the five boroughs took a stand against tobacco on the 19th annual Kick Butts Day, March 19, 2014. Kick Butts day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to speak out against Big Tobacco.

Our Manhattan team and the YM & YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood opened a kiosk on Nagle Avenue in Washington Heights to provide information on the effects of tobacco marking on youth. We showed our video

Tiffany Rivera of the Manhattan Smoke-Free Partnership with Manhattan youth

Tiffany Rivera of the Manhattan Smoke-Free Partnership with Manhattan youth

“Through Our Eyes: NYC Youth on Tobacco Marketing‬”, and youth tobacco control advocates talked with their peers about how tobacco marketing can cause kids to start and continue to use tobacco products.

Our Brooklyn team along with our partner, the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC)-Brooklyn Branch, launched a new video whose hero, “Smoke-Free Brock Li”, shows how tobacco negatively impacts health. The CPC-Brooklyn Branch and our Brooklyn team developed the concept for the video with input from over 200 students in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades from six public schools.

Bronx youth and the tobacco marketing she sees on her way to school.

Bronx youth and the tobacco marketing she sees on her way to school.

Our Bronx team hit the streets of the Bronx with over 30 youth from Truman High School, SoBRO, the Girl Scouts, and the Bronx Student Advisory Council to survey the rampant tobacco marketing they encounter each day walking in their neighborhoods of Clason Point, Soundview, Baychester, and West Farms. Using the hashtag, #BXKICKBUTTS, youth shared their findings on social media to raise awareness and show their peers how Big Tobacco targets them.

Our Queens team led an event at the Boys Club of NY Abbe Clubhouse in Flushing during which youth from the organization signed an open letter to let the tobacco industry know that they’ve seen enough tobacco marketing in their community. “Smoking kills and we’ve

Our Queens team and the Boys Club of NY Abbe Clubhouse in Flushing

Our Queens team and the Boys Club of NY Abbe Clubhouse in Flushing.

got to protect kids from the cause,” said Gregory Fleury, Teen Director at the Boys Club of NY Abbe Clubhouse in Flushing. He continued, “Kids think smoking is okay since they see tobacco marketing every day in stores that we go to, but we want to change that.”

Staten Island Reality Check at Curtis High School

Staten Island Reality Check at Curtis High School.

The Staten Island Smoke-Free Partnership joined Staten Island Reality Check, Staten Island Heart Association Youth Board, and other community partners at a meeting at Curtis High School during which students urged their peers to stay tobacco-free and become tobacco control advocates. Sonya Reyes, the Student Organization President, welcomed Reality Check to her school and encouraged students to take center stage in the fight against tobacco.

Partners in the NYC LGBT Smoke-Free Initiative on the first LGBT Kick Butts Day in NYC.

Partners in the NYC LGBT Smoke-Free Initiative on the first LGBT Kick Butts Day in NYC.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth from all five boroughs joined fifteen LGBT health and community-based organizations at The LGBT Community Center (The Center) for the first LGBT Kick Butts Day in New York City. We marked the occasion by publicly launching the NYC LGBT Smoke-Free Initiative.

City Council Member Rosie Mendez (D-District 2) said, “I support the NYC LGBT Smoke-Free Initiative and its efforts to reduce the smoking rates among the LGBT

City Council Member Rosie Mendez speaking to LGBT youth.

City Council Member Rosie Mendez speaking to LGBT youth.

community while simultaneously decreasing the risk of heart disease. Furthermore, I strongly support any effort that would curb the smoking rate for LGBT youths which studies have proven, have a higher percentage of smokers due to additional stressors in their lives.”

We applaud the next generation of youth advocates who took a stand against Big Tobacco on Kick Butts Day and encourage them to continue fighting for their healthy futures.

 

Big Tobacco’s Mad Men Are at It Again

Smoking-Don-Draper-Jon-Hamm(1)Whenever you’re marketing a product about which the general public hears negative things, Don Draper in AMC’s Mad Men would suggest, “Change the conversation.”

Isn’t that what Big Tobacco is doing with electronic cigarettes?

In an effort to avoid the stigma associated with cigarettes, devices which are essentially e-cigarettes are being marketed cleverly as “hookah pens”, “e-hookahs” or “vape pipes”.  The marketing would have you believe you’re not smoking and exposing those around you to toxic secondhand smoke; you’re “vaping”, and the vapor you exhale is harmless. Yet, you’re likely being exposed to nicotine, which is highly addictive, and there is no conclusion yet potential risks associated with exposure to exhaled vapor.

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