Hookah Use Among Teens in San Diego County Rivals Use of Cigarettes
UC San Diego researchers say lack of risk perception and legality are factors
An alternative and harmful form of tobacco use, known as the hookah or water pipe, may be spreading among youth in the United States according to researchers from the University of California, San Diego’s Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and San Diego State University. This trend is emerging even as cigarette smoking among high school students is on the decline nationally.
The team of researchers examined patterns of use, risk perception, and psychosocial risk factors among users, former users, and nonusers of hookah at three San Diego high schools. The paper, “Determinants of Hookah Use among High School Students,” was published in the April edition of Nicotine and Tobacco Research.
Wael Al-Delaimy, MD, PhD, associate professor and chief of the Division of Global Health in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at UCSD School of Medicine is the team’s senior author and a research expert in the field of tobacco control. “Our study suggests that hookah smoking is taking hold in some high school-aged students at a rate higher than previously reported, which is rather alarming as an emerging public health problem,” said Al-Delaimy. “Our data show that inaccurate perception about hookah harmfulness, its social acceptability, and presence of hookah lounges in residential areas, is driving the higher use among the teens in our study.”