Misperception Increases Hooka Smoking Among College Students

Even as smoking is becoming a thing of the past in restaurants and other public buildings, hookah bars are becoming more and more popular. Young people have found hookah bars to be the chic hangout they have been looking for. Many hookah bars are being conveniently placed near college campuses and cafes where college students hang out.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center recently conducted a study on this new trend and the results were disappointing. With the popularity of hookah smoking on the rise there is a good chance that the negative health effects of hookah smoking are going to be wide ranging. Unfortunately, it seems that many young people are misinformed about how dangerous teen smoking hookahs can be since there is a misconception that it is safer than cigarettes.

Researchers randomly sent a web-based survey out to students of eight North Carolina universities and colleges.They asked them about drug habits, smoking patterns and their knowledge about the effects of these activities. The results of this survey showed that more than one third had smoked tobacco from a hookah. A slightly higher percentage had smoked a cigarette, but 25 percent of the survey group smoke cigarettes regularly and 17 percent are regular hookah users. It also showed that there is a link between people that used hookahs and smoked marijuana, used other illegal drugs and drank alcohol.

Unfortunately the survey also made it clear that, in general, student smoking hookah users shared the misconception that hookah smoke is less harmful  than cigarette smoke.This idea probably comes from the fact that most hookah cafes offer flavored tobaccos that also have a pleasant scent. The smoke from a hookah is very smooth compared to a cigarette because it is water cooled before it enters the lungs. Because of this cooling factor the smoker inhales deeper and holds the smoke in longer.

Another health concern around hookah usage is that the hookahs used in cafes and bars are not always disinfected properly. This would be a breading ground of infectious diseases passed from one user to the next.

Hookah smoke carries the same toxins and delivers the same debilitating health concerns as smoking cigarettes. More education about college smoking needs to be available to young adults, and colleges need to have a college speaker to include the dangers of hookah smoking with the rest of their drug and alcohol education.

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