More women smoking hookahs

First-time use of a hookah (water pipe) to smoke tobacco is increasingly common among U.S. female college students in their freshman year, a new study finds.

Researchers surveyed 483 female college freshman and found that 343 had not used a hookah before college. Of those 343 students, 23 percent tried hookah smoking during their first year of college.

What the study found

Hookah use appeared to be linked to alcohol and marijuana use. The more alcohol the students consumed, the more likely they were to try hookah smoking. Students who used marijuana engaged in hookah smoking more often than others.

The researchers also found that certain personality traits, such as a higher level of impulsivity and a strong tendency to compare oneself to others, predicted frequency of hookah use.

The study was published online in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

The findings are troubling because there's been a dramatic increase in hookah smoking rates among young adults in the United States over the last two decades, said the researchers at Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I.

Some studies suggest that levels of hookah smoking among young adults are on par with cigarette smoking.

Hookah not safer than cigarettes

Many college students mistakenly believe that hookah smoking is safer than cigarettes, but hookah smoking has been linked with many of the same diseases caused by cigarettes, including lung cancer, respiratory conditions and gum disease, the researchers noted.

"The popularity and social nature of hookah smoking, combined with the fact that college freshmen are more likely to experiment with risky behaviour, could set the stage for a potential public health issue, given what we know about the health risks of hookah smoking," lead author Robyn Fielder, a research intern Miriam Hospital's Centres for Behavioural and Preventive Medicine, said in a hospital news release.

(HealthDay News, July 2012) 

Read more:

More people smoking hubbly bubbly

Hubbly bubblies make you sick


(Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes
28% - 9789 votes
No
72% - 24595 votes
Vote