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Hookah use widespread among college students
Date:4/5/2011

shared a mistaken perception that somehow smoking from a hookah was less harmful than smoking a cigarette.

The full study appears online in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Originally from India, a hookah, or water pipe, is a single or multi-stemmed smoking instrument, often made of glass, consisting of a smoke chamber, a bowl, a pipe and a hose. The instrument uses charcoal to heat specially made tobacco that has been soaked in molasses or honey and is highly flavored. Most hookah cafes offer a wide variety of flavorings on their menu everything from chocolate to bubble gum, mango to jasmine, mint to rose petals. In addition to the sweet smell and taste, the smoke produced by a hookah is "smoother" than cigarette smoke because it is cooled by water before passing through a rubber hose to a mouthpiece, where it is inhaled.

"The smoke produced by hookahs is a very mild smoke that may be appealing to non-cigarette smokers as a starter product," Sutfin said. She added that 22 percent of respondents who identified as hookah users had never tried a cigarette, suggesting that hookahs may be their first tobacco product. Cigarette smoke, by comparison, is a very harsh smoke, which can be irritating, Sutfin explained.

"Likely because of the pleasant aroma and taste, users may inhale more deeply over a longer period of time," she said. "This results in hookah smokers actually inhaling a larger volume of tobacco smoke than cigarette smokers do."

Perhaps not surprisingly, the survey showed that students who attended a college located within 10 miles of a hookah venue were more likely to use. This is the first study to look at "availability," or the association between the location of commercial hookah venues and use among college students in the area.

The data for this study were collected before the smoke-free ban went into effect in North Carolina, banning tobacco smoking from restaurants and bars, and there is no
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Contact: Jessica Guenzel
jguenzel@wakehealth.edu
336-716-3487
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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