Wealthier High-School Students More Likely to Try Smoking Hookah

It is the affluent high-school students who are more likely to try smoking hookah, finds a new study by researchers from New York University Langone Medical Center.

Researchers carried out a survey involving several thousands of students in Grade 12 from 130 public and private schools in 48 US states. The survey unveiled around 18% of students who have tried hookah in the past year.

The survey found ethnic backgrounds also mattered. White and Hispanic students were more likely to have tried hookah than their black classmates. Students living in urban areas with parents having strong education base were more likely to have smoked hookah.

Lead researcher Dr. Joseph J. Palamar said they found similar findings for cocaine. Students who were from wealthy background were more likely to use the illicit drug.

He further stated, "Cigarette smoking has become a stigmatized behaviour over the last decade and it now tends to be associated with lower socioeconomic status. Hookah, however, doesn't appear to have the same 'lower-class' stigma".

Co-author of the study, Dr. Michael Weitzman said rise in hokaah smoking could be due to hookah bars and their advertising, which is generally near college campuses, is aimed at wealthy and educated youth.

Hookah smoking is even more harmful than conventional smoking. A single water-pipe session can equate to 20 or more cigarettes and also would lead to higher levels of nicotine than cigarette.

Other studies have associated hookah smoking with reduced lung function and lung cancer. It also leads to lower birth weights in babies of pregnant smokers.