The lure of the hookah

True or false: Hookahs are safer than cigarettes? False, according to the facts, but true according to a survey that’s out today of some college kids, Live Science reports. Hookahs are gaining favor on campus, apparently.


The researchers found that 40.3 percent – more than one-third of the students surveyed – reported having ever smoked tobacco from a hookah, while only a slightly higher percentage (46.6) reported having ever smoked a cigarette. Nearly 25 percent of students reported being current smokers of cigarettes, and 17.4 percent said they actively use hookahs.

The survey results showed that freshmen and males were more likely to use hookahs, and that there was an association between those who used hookahs and those who smoked cigarettes, smoked marijuana, had a history of other illegal drug use, and had consumed alcohol in the 30 days prior to the survey.

Another study — this one from the University of California San Diego — found hookah use is increasing in high school, partly because it’s perceived as more acceptable than cigarette smoking. The school’s news release said…


Understanding the hookah habits of teens is important because a person’s tobacco use pattern – whether or not, and how often – is usually established by age 18,” said Al-Delaimy. “Hookah use is related to diseases, including coronary heart disease, adverse pulmonary effects and cancers of the lung, mouth and bladder. Hookah smoke also contains many of the same carcinogens and heavy metals as cigarette smoke; longer hookah smoking sessions, combined with increased smoke volume, makes it potentially more dangerous than cigarettes.”

In Minnesota, however, hookah use still carries a stigma, a story in the U Daily said last fall. Many people think it’s a bong.

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