MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor Michael Weitzman MD
New York University’s College of Global Public Health and
The Departments of Pediatrics and Population Health
New York University School of Medicine
NYU Langone Medical Center
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: There is a marked and rapidly increasing epidemic of hookah (waterpipe) use in the US. Hookah use appears to be as, or even more, dangerous than cigarette use. There are data suggesting that one hookah session is comparable to smoking 5 packs of cigarettes in terms of exposure to toxins. The CDC and WHO both have issued warnings that hookah pipe use may eradicate much or all of the progress of the past 50 years of tobacco control efforts.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: The main findings are
(a) waterpipe use varies widely by state and region in the US;
(b) in contrast to cigarettes, more highly educated and affluent young adults are more likely to use these nicotine delivery systems whereas less affluent less educated individuals are more likely to smoke cigarettes;
(c) younger adults are far more likely to use waterpipes as compared to individuals who are older
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: More than 12% of all adults in the US, and more than 1/3 of all adults aged 18-24 have used waterpipes. Use of any tobacco products that begins early in life is likely to result in addiction and longterm use. Thus, it is possible that a truly substantial percentage of the US population is at risk of nicotine addiction and the myriad adverse consequences that often accompanies its use.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: There is a clear need to better understand reasons underlying regional variations in use and to monitor changes in geographic patterns of use. There also is an extremely important need to better understand why young adults adopt the use of waterpipes and ways to prevent their use.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: As noted by others, hookah use may represent the second front in the battle against tobacco.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Su Hyun Park, Dustin T. Duncan, Omar El Shahawy, Jenni A. Shearston, Lily Lee, Kosuke Tamura, Scott E. Sherman, Michael Weitzman. Analysis of State-Specific Prevalence, Regional Differences, and Correlates of Hookah Use in U.S. Adults, 2012–2013. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2016; DOI: 10.1093/ntr/ntw229
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