Home » News » Hookah Smoking As Hazardous As Cigarettes

Hookah Smoking As Hazardous As Cigarettes

Hookah Smoking As Hazardous As CigarettesAlthough smoking a hookah, or water pipe, is an activity that has been performed for centuries, the rapid growth of hookah bars has taken many health officials by surprise.

Hookah bars are springing up everywhere, especially in proximity to college campuses where they’ve found a loyal customer base in young adults.

Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center decided to study the fad to ascertain if it is a relatively harmless endeavor, or something with serious health consequences.

“The popularity of hookah smoking among young adults is quite alarming given the potential for negative health effects,” said Erin L. Sutfin, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences and Health Policy and lead author on the study.

“Unfortunately, many young adults are misinformed about the safety of hookah smoking, and some mistakenly believe it to be safer than cigarette smoking.”

As a way to determine hookah use, researchers sent out a web-based survey to a random sample of students from eight North Carolina colleges and universities. In the questionnaire, they asked students about smoking patterns, drug habits, and the students’ knowledge about these activities.

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.

It was also clear from the results that hookah users, in general, shared a mistaken perception that somehow smoking from a hookah was less harmful than smoking a cigarette.

Researchers warn that hookah pipes used in hookah bars and cafes may not be properly cleaned, creating an environment conducive to the spread of infectious diseases.

While research about hookah smoking is still emerging, evidence shows that it poses many of the same dangers that smoking cigarettes does. Among those dangers, hookah smoke contains high levels of toxic compounds, including tar, carbon monoxide, heavy metals and cancer-causing chemicals.

In fact, smoking from a hookah exposes an individual to more carbon monoxide and smoke than cigarette smokers are exposed to. Hookah smoking also delivers about the same amount of nicotine as cigarette smoking does, which could lead to tobacco dependence. Health effects include lung cancer, respiratory illness, low birth-weight (among infants whose mothers smoked hookah during pregnancy) and periodontal disease.

“This study highlights hookah smoking as a considerable public health concern, especially among young adults,” the researchers said.

The full study appears online in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Source: Wake Forest University

Hookah Smoking As Hazardous As Cigarettes

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Hookah Smoking As Hazardous As Cigarettes. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 25, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2011/04/06/hookah-smoking-as-hazardous-as-cigarettes/25067.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.