Study from WorldCare Consortium™ member UCLA Health finds that hookah smoking raises cardiovascular risk factors comparable to traditional cigarette smoking

08:00 08 August in Health, Medicine

A new study from WorldCare Consortium™ member UCLA Health published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that, in direct contradiction to marketing efforts claiming that hookah (water pipe) smoking is less of a health hazard than cigarettes, just one half-hour of hookah smoking resulted in development of cardiovascular risk factors similar to what is seen with traditional cigarette smoking.


Researchers from WorldCare Consortium™ member UCLA Health measured blood pressure, heart rate, arterial stiffness, blood nicotine and exhaled carbon monoxide levels in 48 healthy, young hookah smokers both before and after 30 minutes of smoking hookah. A single session of hookah smoking increased heart rate by 16 beats per minute and blood pressure. Arterial stiffness, a key risk factor in the development of cardiovascular conditions such as heart attack or stroke, also increased significantly, comparable to data seen from cigarette smokers after smoking a cigarette.

The study is believed to be the first one to look at the effects of hookah smoking on stiffening of the arteries. Stiffening of arteries and the aorta are notable signs of progression of hypertension, raising the risk of heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular disorders. Previous studies have shown that cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes produce similar rates of arterial stiffening found in this hookah use study. While studies have indicated that cigarettes use continues to decline, hookah smoking is on the rise, especially among youth and particularly college students. National data show that among adults ages 18 to 24, 18.2 percent report smoking hookah, compared to 19.6 percent who smoke cigarettes and 8.9 percent who use e-cigarettes.

“Our findings challenge the concept that fruit-flavored hookah tobacco smoking is a healthier tobacco alternative. It is not,” stated Mary Rezk-Hanna, an assistant professor at the UCLA School of Nursing and lead author of the study.




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