Washington, July 19 : One out of four college
women in the US are gravitating towards the hookah, which originated in
India and Persia, and many of them mistakenly believe that it is safer
than cigarettes, says a US study.
Researchers from the Miriam
Hospital's Center for Behavioural and Preventive Medicine found the more
alcohol women consumed, the more likely they were to try the hookah,
while women who used marijuana engaged in hookah smoking more frequently
than their peers, the journal of Psychology of Addictive Behaviours
reports. The phenomenon was mostly prevalent among the first year
Many of them also mistakenly believe that
hookah is safer than cigarettes, even though its use has been linked to
many of the same diseases caused by cigarette smoking, including lung
cancer, respiratory illness and periodontal disease.
smoking is a social activity during which users smoke tobacco filtered
through a water pipe. Their tobacco mixtures vary in composition, with
some having candy and fruit flavours to help mask the smoke's harshness,
according to a Miriam Hospital statement.
"The popularity and
social nature of hookah smoking, combined with the fact that college
freshmen are more likely to experiment with risky behaviour, could set
the stage for a potential public health issue, given what we know about
the health risks of hookah smoking," said Robyn L. Fielder, research
intern at The Miriam Hospital's Center, who led the study.
many as 483 first-year female college students completed an initial
survey about their pre-college hookah use, followed by 12 monthly online
surveys about their experience with hookah smoking. Of the 343
participants who did not report pre-college hookah use, 23 percent (79
students) tried hookah tobacco smoking during their first year of
An analysis revealed alcohol consumption predicted the
likelihood of hookah use, while marijuana use and certain personality
styles, such as a higher level of impulsivity and a strong tendency to
compare oneself to others, predicted frequency of use.