"Results from this study highlight the need for policies related to hookah use," Sutfin said. "First, college administrators need to be aware of hookah use and include hookahs in strong campus tobacco-free policies. Second, state smoke-free bans need to include hookahs in their policies. Several states with strong smoke-free policies have exemptions for hookahs. Hookah cafes create the perception that this is a safe activity. It is not."
One of the many health concerns about hookah cafes, Sutfin added, is that hookah pipes used in hookah bars and cafes may not be properly cleaned, creating an environment conducive to the spread of infectious diseases.
While research about hookah smoking is still emerging, evidence shows that it poses many of the same dangers that smoking cigarettes does. Among those dangers, hookah smoke contains high levels of toxic compounds, including tar, carbon monoxide, heavy metals and cancer-causing chemicals. In fact, smoking from a hookah exposes an individual to more carbon monoxide and smoke than cigarette smokers are exposed to. Hookah smoking also delivers about the same amount of nicotine as cigarette smoking does, which could lead to tobacco dependence. Health effects include lung cancer, respiratory illness, low birth-weight (among infants whose mothers smoked hookah during pregnancy) and periodontal disease.
"This study highlights hookah smoking as a considerable public health concern, especially among young adults," Sutfin said. "Going forward, we need to develop interventions to address this risky behavior."
|Contact: Jessica Guenzel|
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center