Don’t Get Hooked on Hookah

Hookah use has increased in young adults

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Have you ever heard of hookah? You might have because it’s becoming more popular among the younger crowd. Many hookah users believe smoking hookah is safer than cigarettes.

Researchers are becoming alarmed by the increase use of hookah. It’s not only popular among adults - it’s also popular in young adults.

"Smoking hookah is not safer than cigarettes."

Hookah is a water pipe that is used to smoke tobacco. Co-author, Wael Al-Delaimy, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor and chief of the Division of Global Health in the University of California San Diego Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, found that the number of adults who reported smoking hookah increased by more than 40 percent from 2005 to 2008.

The researchers also found that the rate was even higher in young Californians between the ages of 18 and 24 compared to all adults. It was also more prevalent in non-Hispanic whites who have had at least some college education.

The study used data from the 2005 and 2008 California Tobacco Survey. Hookah prevalence was calculated according to age, ethnicity, education and cigarette smoking status.

Hookah seems to be gaining popularity because of the social nature and belief that it is less harmful than cigarettes, Dr. Al-Delaimy says. Many people that have reported smoking hookah usually do it in groups, with many friends, he adds.

Hookah may seem safer because hookah is allowed in certain lounges, but this is simply not true, Dr. Al-Delaimy says. There’s no scientific proof that says hookah is less harmful than cigarette smoking, he adds. There is however contrary evidence suggesting that one hour of hookah use is the equivalent to several cigarettes so regular use of hookah can be as or more dangerous than cigarette smoking, Dr. Al-Delaimy concludes.

The research is published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 23, 2011
Last Updated:
August 24, 2011