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"We believe that our research adds to the understanding of the geographic and socio-demographic factors underlying hookah use," said Dr. Weitzman.
Statistics show that nearly 20% of young adults (ages 18-24 years) currently use hookah, which is nearly equivalent to statistics on cigarette use. Dr. Weitzman and his team tracked hookah smoking across the U.S. and examined the effects of long-term usage.
The findings were astonishing. Researchers found that hookah smoking has almost doubled among American adults within a very short time period. Researchers believe the recent increase is due to the societal belief that hookah is a healthier alternative to smoking. But Dr. Weitzman and his co-authors warn that hookah is just as addictive, poses similar risks as cigarettes, and actually results in larger quantities of smoke inhaled.
Interestingly enough, researchers also found that hookah smoking is more popular among single men with a higher education and income status. On the contrary, cigarette smoking is more common among poorer people with a lower level of education.
The team hopes that the new findings will result in stricter regulations when it comes to hookah smoking. They’re also hoping that new anti-hookah campaigns will be launched, much like anti-cigarette campaigns. But more than anything, the researchers want to protect the health of children and young adults who may not know any better when it comes to the risks they’re taking.
One thing the study doesn’t cover is the second-hand smoke effect of hookah. However, Dr. Weitzman and his team stated that this is a factor they would like to look into in the future.