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Hookah Smoking On The Rise In California

Audio

Aired 8/19/11

Californians are giving up their cigarettes, a flocking to water pipes. A new study reveals a significant rise in hookah smoking.

— Cigarette smoking in California has fallen to record lows, but smoking tobacco through a hookah pipe is on the rise. A new report from UCSD finds an alarming increase.

The study reveals between 2005 and 2008, hookah smoking in California increased by more than 40 percent. The biggest rise was among young adults.

UCSD professor Wael Al-Delaimy wrote the report. He has a theory about why hookah smoking is so popular.

"It's becoming more of a social event," Al-Delaimy said, "where people gather around a hookah, and it's a time to relax and chat, and meet other friends."

Dr. Al-Delaimy said contrary to popular belief, hookah smoking is dangerous. Scientists say a one-hour session with a hookah is equivalent to inhaling the smoke from 100 cigarettes.

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