Hookah use up sharply in California

Hookah use is establishing roots in the strongly anti-tobacco state of California, says a new study, with usage rates increasing more than 40% over a few years.

Hookah involves smoking from a water pipe and hose. Specially made tobacco, often flavored,  is heated and smoke passes through water and a rubber hose into a mouthpiece. Studies so far suggest that hookah smoking carries many of the same health risks assmoking cigarettes.

Researchers from UC San Diego and San Diego State University examined data from the California Tobacco Survey. It showed 7.9% of male adults said they had smoked hookah in 2005 compared to 11.2% in 2008. Among adult women, 1.9% had smoked hookah in 2005 and 2.8% in 2008.

But among men ages 18 to 24 in 2008, almost one-quarter of all men said they had used hookah. Hookah appears most common among young educated, non-Hispanic whites and cigarette smokers.  L.A. TIMES

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