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Young hookah smokers more prone to cigarette smoking

Young American adults who engage in water-pipe tobacco smoking are more likely to smoke cigarettes, according to a study from the University of Florida College of Medicine.

Using data from the 2012-2013 National Adult Tobacco Survey, researchers reported rates of current water-pipe tobacco smoking, also known as hookah and shisha, and their susceptibility to cigarette smoking by demographic characteristics and by use of other tobacco products. Survey participants ranged from 18 to 24 years old.

Survey data showed that among young adults who were not cigarette smokers, two of five hookah smokers reported being susceptible to smoking cigarettes – that is, they had never made a firm decision not to smoke, an important predictor that a young person will become a smoker. Nearly half of current hookah smokers, meaning those who reported smoking hookah every day or some days, and 42.8 percent of intermittent hookah smokers reported being susceptible to cigarette smoking, whereas 16.2 percent of those who were not current water-pipe smokers reported likely being influenced to smoke.

This study is the first to examine the relationship between current hookah smoking and the susceptibility to cigarette smoking in a nationally representative sample of young adults in the United States.

“Given the high prevalence of water-pipe smoking among young people in the United States, it is important to assess both its direct and indirect consequences,” the researchers suggest.

Study: Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking and Susceptibility to Cigarette Smoking Among Young Adults in the United States, 2012-2013, Ramzi G. Salloum, PhD, et al., Preventing Chronic Disease, published 18 February 2016.