Hookahs Are Trouble Too

Waterpipe or hookah smoking is on the rise in college circles

(RxWiki News) Bouncing off the water makes tobacco smoke safe, right? Absolutely not! College kids are picking up hookahs instead of cigarettes. They don’t know hookahs are just as bad.

A recent study found an uptick in hookah smoking on college campuses. Authors suggest anti-smoking campaigns include anti-hookah smoking too.

"Smoking a hookah is bad for you."

Aashir Nasim, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, led the investigation.

For the study, 2,998 undergraduates from public universities participated in online surveys from 2006 to 2011 about their usage of waterpipes and/or cigarettes.

A total of 22 percent reported only smoking cigarettes, 6 percent reported only smoking out of a waterpipe and 9 percent claimed they smoked out of both.

Dr. Nasim said, “We often assume that everyone, including college students, is knowledgeable about the health risks associated with tobacco smoking.”

“This simply isn’t true, especially in relation to waterpipe smoking. Surprisingly, many hold the belief that waterpipe tobacco smoking is less harmful than cigarette smoking because the water filters out the ‘bad stuff’.”

Results of the study found that waterpipe smoking has increased 20 percent since 2006 in non-smokers, despite drops in cigarette smoking.

Authors concluded that enough students used waterpipes to warrant tobacco prevention efforts focused on pipe smokers.

This study was published in September in the Journal of American College Health.

Funding for this study was provided by a grant from the United States Public Health Service. No conflicts of interest were found.

Review Date: 
September 30, 2012