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Water pipes

6/11/12 10:47am

One Third of Students Use Hookahs


More dangerous than cigarettes? Photo via

One in three college students smokes "shisha", according to a new study—but hitting up the hookah bar on summer break could be seriously bad for your health. Hookah smoke is just as toxic as cigarette smoke—but worryingly, an hour-long hookah session results in the inhalation of 100-200 times as much smoke of a single cigarette, states a CDC fact sheet. The new study—published in the Nicotine and Tobacco Research journal—found that half of the one out of three college students who have smoked hookah don't smoke cigarettes. More than 100,000 students from 152 different universities participated in the study. “Although current waterpipe use was reported across all individual and institutional characteristics,” say the authors, “fully adjusted multivariable models showed that it was most strongly associated with younger age, male gender, white race, fraternity/sorority membership and nonreligious institutions in large cities in the western United States.” Lead author Dr. Brian Primack says in the study that smoking hookah is just as addicting as cigarettes and “should be included with other forms of tobacco in efforts related to tobacco surveillance and intervention.” Water pipe smoking has become highly popular in the US, with many bars and lounges emerging across the country. Hookah fans have told The Fix that the "fun," sociable nature of the practice is what makes it so attractive.

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By Valerie Tejeda


6/11/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: June 11, 2012


A cop's-eye view of Raymond Kulma
Photo via

By The Fix staff

Celebrity Rehab

6/08/12 5:04pm

Marc Jacobs Was a Heroin Addict—But Not a Fat One


Who you calling fat? Photo via

You can call Marc Jacobs a former drug addict. Just don't call him fat. The fashion designer opened up to Interview magazine about the heroin addiction that saw him go to rehab in 1999, and again in 2007 after a relapse, but he seemed most offended by the rumors that he became overweight while he was on drugs. "That was the stupidest thing I ever heard because first of all I was never a fat heroin addict," Jacobs says. "I was a skinny heroin addict, and I got over that luckily…I was fat when I stopped doing drugs, not fat while I was doing drugs. I don't know anyone who's fat when they're doing drugs." It seems like Jacobs took the words to heart, as he developed a ripped physique and added a few tattoos after his second stint in rehab. But even though he's been able to kick heroin, Jacobs hasn't been able to stop smoking—and doesn't seem to have any interest in quitting. He says that smoking is "the best," and combined with sleeping, is one of his "favorite things."

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By McCarton Ackerman

drug policy

6/08/12 4:31pm

Drug Prof Slams Pot Lung-Danger Claims


David Nutt is critical of scaremongering.
Photo via

In a British spat with wide-reaching ramifications, David Nutt, a high-profile and outspoken UK drug expert, has called out the British Lung Foundation's recent assertion that an average joint is as carcinogenic as 20 cigarettes. “Scaremongering over cannabis does not equip the public to make wiser choices,” he writes in a letter published in the London Metro. “Neither does making tobacco look safer with this false comparison.” He also notes that the study cited by the BLF has been accused of “incorrect methodology” and “false reasoning,” and that other studies have not connected cannabis with lung cancer. Nutt, who is currently Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College, London, is no stranger to controversy. He was sacked from his position on the UK government's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs in 2009, after publicly criticizing drug policies that he felt classified substances wrongly considering their respective levels of danger. Ever since, he has spoken out against government scapegoating and scaremongering over drugs; he's called for the legalization of psychedelics to assist neuroscience, and has proposed legal avenues for club-goers to test their ecstasy for toxic impurities. He clearly feels the BLF's report was just more of the same ignorance. "The best evidence-based advice to help cannabis smokers look after their lungs," he writes, "would be to abandon the peculiar British habit of mixing cannabis with tobacco."

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By Bryan Le

tipping point

6/08/12 3:48pm

How Drunks Can't Tip Straight


At least the bartender can console himself that
'someone' had a good time. Photo via

Calculating a tip while sober can be taxing enough for some of us—but for those who like a challenge, there's always calculating a tip after a night at the bar. Closing a bar tab with a credit card is a delicate art that requires math, empathy and penmanship. And if the Close Your Tabs blog is any indication, things don't always come together as a drinker might wish. Each photo posted on the daily blog showcases yet another bar patron's drunken liberties with numbers and writing. Most demonstrate failures to add properly, and some even subvert our expectations with totals that shrink after the tip is added. Some are reminiscent of Jackson Pollock's finest works. Others are incredibly simple, although their meanings may remain elusive. After all, it's tricky to comprehend artists' intentions when the artists themselves are barely conscious of their own intentions. But every piece does come with a crystal-clear underlying message: try to close out your bar tab before you've had a few too many.

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By Bryan Le

Drug war

6/08/12 2:59pm

Mexico's Drug Queen Extradited to the US


Avile smiling after her 2007 arrest. Photo via

Mexico's most powerful female drug smuggler will be extradited and face drug trafficking charges in the US, judges have ruled. Sandra Avile, known as the "Queen of the Pacific" for leading drug trafficking routes up the Pacific coast from Mexico to California, has been held in Mexico since she was arrested in 2007 for organized crime and money laundering. She will now face charges in the US for smuggling 220 lbs of cocaine into Chicago between June and September 2001. The queen-pin allegedly helped build one of Mexico's leading drug cartels—the Sinaloa cartel—with Mexico's most wanted drug criminal, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman. A power-struggle between the Sinaloa cartel and rival gang Las Zetas has resulted in numerous gruesome murders in recent years—adding to a death toll from the Mexican drug war that is thought to have reached 55,000 over the past six years. Avile's uncle Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo is known as the "godfather" of the Mexican drug trade; he's currently serving 40 years for drug trafficking and the murder of a DEA agent in 1985.

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By May Wilkerson


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