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Water Pipes Favored Over Cigarettes by Many College Athletes

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About 30 percent of college students have smoked tobacco from a hookah, or water pipe, and some college athletes are more likely than non-athletes to smoke a hookah despite the fact that athletes are typically less likely to smoke cigarettes.

Medical News Today reported Aug. 27 that researchers from the University of Pittsburgh found that while varsity athletes were 22 percent less likely than non-athletes to smoke a water pipe, club and intramural athletes were 15 percent more likely to do so than their non-athlete peers.

“Varsity athletes may be particularly cautious with any type of substance use because of the demands of their sport and the seriousness of their athletic commitment,” said study author Brian Primack, M.D., of the Pitt School of Medicine. “But club and intramural athletes clearly perceive this as a safer form of tobacco use. We in public health need to impress upon them that it is not.”

The study was published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

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