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January 12th, 2016:

Hookah tobacco smoke contains more toxins than cigarette smoke

From this analysis the team found that when comparing one hookah session with one cigarette, more harmful toxins are present during the hookah session.

New research has found that smoking tobacco from hookahs, the traditionally Middle-Eastern pipes that involve drawing tobacco smoke through water before being inhaled, causes the user to inhale a much larger amount of toxins than from cigarettes.

The meta-analysis, funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute, was led by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The team narrowed down 542 previously published articles related to cigarette and hookah smoking to 17 studies which contained enough reliable and sufficient data to analyze the toxins inhaled during both forms of smoking.

From this analysis the team found that when comparing one hookah session with one cigarette, more harmful toxins are present during the hookah session, with the user inhaling 125 times the smoke, 25 times the tar, 2.5 times the nicotine and 10 times the carbon monoxide in comparison.

Lead author Brian A. Primack acknowledged that it is difficult to compare the two forms of smoking and make a conclusion as to which poses the greater health risk, as what researchers refer to as frequent users could mean an individual who smokes for example 20 cigarettes a day or someone who participates in a few hookah sessions on a daily basis.

“It’s not a perfect comparison because people smoke cigarettes and hookahs in very different ways,” said Dr. Primack. “We had to conduct the analysis this way — comparing a single hookah session to a single cigarette — because that’s the way the underlying studies tend to report findings. So, the estimates we found cannot tell us exactly what is ‘worse.'”

However Dr. Primack did comment that these results still show the potential dangers of hookah smoking, which he believes many are unaware of, and called for it to be monitored more closely.

The results of the study will be published in the January/February print issue of the journal Public Health Reports.

The use of hookahs is currently on rise among US high school students. The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control reported in April 2015 that, when measuring the levels of both forms of smoking amongst high school students over a 30-day period, levels of hookah tobacco use were higher than levels of cigarette use.

Yale study finds alcohol level in some e-cigarette liquids can affect motor skills

NEW HAVEN >> Some e-cigarette liquids could give you an alcoholic buzz, a new Yale School of Medicine study has found.

But an author of the study said commercially available e-cigarettes are not high in alcohol.

According to Dr. Gerald Valentine of the Yale Psychiatry Department, the risk of ingesting enough alcohol to cause impairment comes from e-cig liquids that are bought on the Internet, or from enthusiasts who mix their own vaping liquids.

The liquid that e-cigarettes vaporize, which contains nicotine, includes additional chemicals, including alcohol. The researchers studied e-cig liquids bought on the Internet containing between 0.4 percent and 23.5 percent alcohol, but the highest percentage represented just one of 31 samples, Valentine said. Most had less than 3 percent alcohol.

The brand with 23.5 percent alcohol was Virgin Vapor of California, he said. A message left with Virgin Vapor was not immediately returned.

Those who “vaped” the high-alcohol brand did not report feeling differently after using the e-cigarette, but tested lower on psychomotor tests and some were found to have alcohol in their urine, the study found.

Valentine said it is unclear how long any impairment might last. “It might only be 30 seconds. It might be two minutes. We don’t know the duration of that effect,” he said.

But he said alcoholics might be at risk of relapsing by inhaling even low levels of alcohol, presenting “a whole different set of health issues.”

He said previous studies have looked at other chemicals that could be harmful if inhaled, but not alcohol.

While the study subjects were adults, Valentine said, “We have a lot of contact with young smokers who use e-cigarettes. They’re enthusiasts. They’re experimenting.”

Dr. Mehmet Sofuoglu of Yale’s Department of Psychiatry, senior author of the study, said in a release, “Given the widespread and unregulated use of e-cigarettes, especially by youth and other vulnerable populations, further studies are needed to evaluate both the acute safety and long-term health risks of using alcohol-containing e-cigarettes.”

The study was published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.