WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. April 5, 2011 Despite a growing number of cities instituting smoking bans across the country, hookah bars are cropping up everywhere from chic downtown cafes to locations near college campuses, where they've found a loyal customer base in young adults.
A new study done by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center sheds light on the increasingly popular pastime, and the results are discouraging.
"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."
Little research has been done to date on hookah use by young adults in the United States, so researchers set out to expand knowledge on the activity.
They sent a web-based survey to a random sample of students from eight North Carolina colleges and universities asking 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 individuals who used hookahs and those who smoked cigarettes, smoked marijuana, had a history of other illegal drug use, and had drank alcohol in the 30 days prior to the survey.
It was also clear from the results that hookah users, in general,
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Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center