Study of cigarette and waterpipe tobacco smoking shows knowledge gap in perceived health risks

September 25, 2012

People who smoke both cigarettes and waterpipes – dual users – lack sufficient knowledge about the risks of tobacco smoking and are at considerable risk for dependence and tobacco-related diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and stroke later in life, according to findings of a new study by Virginia Commonwealth University.

The study, the first of its kind to assess trends in cigarette and waterpipe tobacco smoke based on long-term data, reveals few users perceive dangers of waterpipe tobacco. A common misconception about waterpipe smoking is that it is not as harmful as cigarette smoking.

In the past several years, a marked increase in waterpipe tobacco smoking, also known as , has occurred among college students, especially those who did not smoke cigarettes before. While waterpipe smoking also can attract non-cigarette smokers, recent evidence has shown that a significant proportion of current cigarette smokers are using waterpipes, making them dual users of these .

In a study, published online this week in the Journal of American College Health, researchers found that dual users - people who smoke both cigarettes and waterpipes - may have an increased exposure to nicotine, increased risk for and are less likely to quit tobacco use.

"We often assume that everyone, including college students, is knowledgeable about the associated with tobacco smoking," said principal investigator Aashir Nasim, Ph.D., National Institute on Minority Health and scholar and associate professor of psychology and African American studies in the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences.

"This simply isn't true, especially in relation to waterpipe tobacco smoking. Surprisingly, many hold the belief that waterpipe tobacco smoking is less harmful than cigarette smoking because the water filters out the 'bad stuff,'" he said.

According to Nasim, the team observed that although cigarette smoking among has declined since 2006, waterpipe tobacco smoking has increased substantially—by about 20 percent—among non-cigarette smokers, and waterpipe tobacco smoking prevalence has remained relatively unchanged among current cigarette smokers. About 10 percent of cigarette smokers also use waterpipe, he said.

Secondly, the team found that compared to exclusive or exclusive waterpipe users, dual cigarette and waterpipe users report being more susceptible to peer influences and perceive the probability of addiction associated with waterpipe to be relatively low.

The team is now examining other types of dual use – for example, dual cigarette and cigar use – on college campuses. This work is being done in collaboration with Danielle Dick, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry, psychology and human and molecular genetics at VCU, and her Spit for Science research team.

Explore further: Shisha smoking as bad as cigarettes for lungs: study

More information: www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10 … 07448481.2012.692416

Related Stories

Shisha smoking as bad as cigarettes for lungs: study

August 30, 2012
Water-pipe smoking is as bad as deeply inhaling cigarette smoke when it comes to causing respiratory problems, according to a study published on Thursday.

Rapid urbanization as well as cultural habits explain Gulf states' rise in heart disease prevalence

January 25, 2012
While the rapid improvement in socio-economic conditions is thought responsible for the high rates of cardiovascular disease in the Gulf states, deep-rooted cultural factors also play a part.

Recommended for you

Federal snack program does not yield expected impacts, researchers find

August 17, 2017
A well-intentioned government regulation designed to offer healthier options in school vending machines has failed to instill better snacking habits in a sample of schools in Appalachian Virginia, according to a study by ...

In a nutshell: Walnuts activate brain region involved in appetite control

August 17, 2017
Packed with nutrients linked to better health, walnuts are also thought to discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness. Now, in a new brain imaging study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) ...

Energy dense foods may increase cancer risk regardless of obesity status

August 17, 2017
Diet is believed to play a role in cancer risk. Current research shows that an estimated 30% of cancers could be prevented through nutritional modifications. While there is a proven link between obesity and certain types ...

Technology is changing Generation smartphone, and not always for the better

August 16, 2017
It's easy to imagine some graybeard long ago weighing in on how this new generation, with all its fancy wheels, missed out on the benefits of dragging stuff from place to place.

The environmental injustice of beauty

August 16, 2017
Women of color have higher levels of beauty-product-related chemicals in their bodies compared to white women, according to a commentary published today in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The authors say ...

Heavily used pesticide linked to breathing problems in farmworkers' children

August 15, 2017
Elemental sulfur, the most heavily used pesticide in California, may harm the respiratory health of children living near farms that use the pesticide, according to new research led by UC Berkeley.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.