A new study shows smoking tobacco from a hookah is a popular pastime for college students. Science Daily reports that the study authors found that hookah users often mistakenly think that smoking from a hookah is less harmful than smoking a cigarette.
The researchers sent a web-based survey to a random sample of North Carolina college students to ask them about their smoking and drug habits. They reported in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence that they found that 40.3 percent of students reported ever having smoked tobacco from a hookah, compared with 46.6 percent who reported ever having smoked a cigarette.
Among respondents, 17.4 said they were current hookah smokers and 25 percent were current cigarette smokers. Freshmen and males were most likely to use hookahs, also known as water pipes. The researchers say that hookah users may inhale more deeply over a longer period than cigarette users because of the hookah’s more pleasing aroma and taste. This means that hookah smokers can end up inhaling more tobacco smoke than cigarette smokers do.