First Known Study on Health Effects and Perceptions of Electronic Waterpipe Use

Groundbreaking research is now available comparing health effects from electronic waterpipes. Westat’s Andrea Stroup, Ph.D., M.P.H., and Penn State University’s Steven Branstetter, Ph.D., co-authored Comparing Immediate Physiological Responses and Future Intentions of Use between Combustible and Electronic Waterpipe Users, which appears in the Journal of Addictive Behaviors. This is the first known study to compare the effects of smoke exposure from combustible waterpipe or hookah and a newer, noncombustible electronic waterpipe on short-term health outcomes, including pulmonary and cardiovascular function and carbon monoxide exposure.

Combustible waterpipe use, which has been shown to be detrimental to smokers’ health, has increased over the past decade, particularly among young adults and college students. “It is important to identify any means of harm reduction for current and future hookah smokers,” says Dr. Stroup. “This study found that while electronic waterpipe use may be perceived by users as a ‘safer’ alternative, our findings suggest that it has similar health risks as other vaping products. We hope that our study is the first of many to investigate these potential health risks.”

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