More smoke water pipes -- family habits significant

The number of people smoking water pipes is rising dramatically throughout the world. A large proportion of new users are young, and many believe – contrary to facts – that water pipe smoking is less dangerous than cigarettes. Research into why people start smoking water pipes is under way at Uppsala University.

Use of (also called "hookah" and "narghile") is on the rise, according to a number of studies conducted in Europe and North America. Anti-smoking campaigns typically focus on cigarettes and even, to some extent, snuff but rarely provide information about the negative effects associated with hookah use.

"Many adolescents and adults believe that hookah use is less dangerous than cigarette smoking," says Bengt Arnetz, Professor of Social Medicine at Uppsala University and Professor of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. "Some fail to understand that hookah use involves tobacco. In fact, smoking a hookah entails much greater exposure to carbon monoxide and other dangerous and carcinogenic substances in tobacco smoke than does smoking cigarettes."

Arnetz, in collaboration with various colleagues, has conducted a series of studies focusing on hookah smoking. One study, published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, involved investigating factors associated with increased likelihood of hookah use. Such studies have been conducted for many years in connection with cigarette smoking but are comparatively rare when it comes to hookah smoking.

One study conducted in Michigan determined that 26 per cent of the 800 participating subjects engaged in hookah use. Researchers found that the likelihood that a person engaged in hookah use was more than eight times higher if the father in the household smoked a hookah, seven times higher if the mother did so and 20 per cent higher if a sibling did so. More generally, men and young people constituted risk groups in connection with hookah use. The risk factors applied equally to people currently engaged in hookah use and those who had previously been so engaged but had stopped.

Arnetz and his colleagues are now planning comparative studies of hookah smoking in Sweden and the United States. They are also interested in investigating the spread of use among adolescents and the effects of socio-economic and stress factors on behaviour. The knowledge in question is important from the standpoint of designing future preventative strategies.

More information: Do Household Smoking Behaviors Constitute a Risk Factor for Hookah Use?, Nicotine Tob Res (2011) ntq249 first published online January 31, 2011.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Avoid the hookah and save your teeth

Nov 08, 2005

Researchers say smoking a hookah is becoming increasingly trendy item in Mediterranean restaurants, cafes and bars -- but it can damage your teeth.

Hookah use widespread among college students

Apr 05, 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 ...

New study measures hookah use among Florida teens

Nov 10, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Hookah pipe smoking has gained a foothold with Florida teens, according to a new University of Florida study, which shows 11 percent of high school students and 4 percent of middle school students have tried ...

Recommended for you

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City's jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that's the latest in a growing body ...

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

Apr 18, 2014

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

User comments