Hookah users more likely to become smokers
While hookahs are not known to be addictive, a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that teenagers and young adults who use hookahs are more likely to pick up cigarettes.
The study, with 2,541 participants from 15 to 23 years old, monitored their smoking habits between October 2010 to June 2011. The researchers then followed up for the period between October 2012 to March 2013.
In the beginning of the study, 38.7 percent of the participants tried cigarettes at some point, Fifteen percent currently smoked, 20.1 percent smoked hookahs, and 9.4 percent used smokeless tobacco known as snus.
In the follow up, 39 percent of participants who did not smoke cigarettes initially but did smoke hookahs started smoking cigarettes. This compares to 4.9 percent of participants who did not smoke hookah and began smoking. Fifty-five percent of participants who initially did not smoke cigarettes but did use snus were smoking by the follow up, compared to 20.5 percent of participants who did not use snus.
Eleven percent of hookah users who picked up cigarettes at the start of the study were still smoking by the follow up compared to 4.9 percent who did not smoke hookahs. Meanwhile, 25 percent of people who used snus who picked up cigarettes at the start of the study were still smoking compared to 5 percent who did not use snus.
While the study shows a correlation between hookah pipe tobacco and smoking cigarettes, it does not mean smoking hookahs will cause people to smoke cigarettes.
Smoking hookah pipes has increased in recent years due to the restrictions on smoking in public bars and restaurants.