September 6, 2008 - The first random sample of U.S. university students to address hookah smoking, showed 265, or 41 percent, out of a group of 647 students at University of Pittsburgh have smoked tobacco from a hookah (water pipe, sheesha, shisha, narghile). Also, 173 students -- nearly 88 percent of the 198 people who took part said they intend to do so again. The portion of respondents who have smoked cigarettes at least once, 39.6 percent, was virtually the same as hookah smokers.
"I'd say the most surprising [finding] is that the proportion who ever used [hookahs] is every bit as common as cigarette use," said Dr. Brian Primack, lead author. Perhaps more troublesome, though, was the finding that 35.4 percent of those who had smoked tobacco in a hookah had never smoked a cigarette.
Primack said: "[Hookahs] are reaching a group of young people who otherwise would have been nicotine- and tobacco-naive." 78.8 percent of the surveyed group that said it has smoked water pipes in the past year thought the devices were less addictive than cigarettes.
Paper: Primack BA, Sidani J, Agarwal AA, Shadel WG, Donny EC, Eissenberg TE
Prevalence of and Associations with Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking among U.S. University Students. Ann Behav Med 2008 Aug 22, ABSTRACT.
Reference: UPMC study shows smoking water pipes is popular with college crowd by Pohla Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/5/2008.
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