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Consequences of clean indoor air exemptions in Oregon: the hookah story
  1. Julie E Maher1,
  2. Daniel S Morris2,
  3. Karen E Girard3,
  4. Barbara A Pizacani1
  1. 1Program Design and Evaluation Services, Multnomah County Health Department and Oregon Public Health Division, Portland, Oregon, USA
  2. 2Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, Oregon Public Health Division, Portland, Oregon, USA
  3. 3Tobacco Prevention and Education Program, Oregon Public Health Division, Portland, Oregon, USA

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The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control has stimulated the passage of comprehensive clean indoor air laws throughout the world.1 Although WHO guidelines stress the importance of universal protection from secondhand smoke in such laws,2 many states in the USA exempt certain locations such as tobacco retail establishments and tobacco bars/cigar lounges.3 ,4 Tobacco waterpipe (ie, hookah) establishments are often exempt from these laws, are growing in popularity and may change social norms regarding hookah use.3 ,4 Indeed, hookah use among young people in the USA appears to be increasing,5 as it is elsewhere,6 and the limited research available suggests it may be associated with negative health effects (eg, nicotine dependence, cancer).5 In this letter, we describe the exemptions in Oregon's Indoor Clean Air Act (ICAA), subsequent proliferation of hookah lounges and associated monetary costs, as well as patterns in youth hookah use. To our knowledge, this is the first such published study in the …

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  • Contributors JEM led the writing of this letter, and DSM conducted the analyses. All authors contributed to the conceptualisation of this letter, helped interpret findings and reviewed drafts of the letter. KEG is the guarantor of this paper.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Oregon Public Health Division Tobacco Prevention and Education Program.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.