Hookah may be the chick drink of tobacco inhalation, but that hasn't stopped California's robust population of university bros from passing 'round their post-cig “spittle suckers” like there's no tomorrow. (No homo.)

And in case you need further evidence, after peering inside any of L.A.'s rampant hookah bars or college-house kickbacks, a recent study out of UC San Diego found that…

… “hookah use was more common among the young (18-24 years), the educated, the non-Hispanic Whites, and the cigarette smokers.”

That's what we get, from one of the top 10 most amply funded research schools in the country? We could have told them that with our Firefox closed.

The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health this month, though it's based on numbers from a 2008 survey. [Ginormous PDF here.] It includes a breakdown of California hookah smokers by race and gender:

Credit: libraries.ucsd.edu

Credit: libraries.ucsd.edu

As you can see, white guys out-hookahed all takers by a long shot. And when researchers say white, know that they're including all denominations of Middle Eastern in that generalization (a gripe for another day) — giving these stats a lot more sense, as the hookah tradition originates from the Middle East.

We'll let the scientists explain:

Tobacco smoking with a hookah pipe (also known as a waterpipe, narghile, or shisha) is a relatively new phenomenon in the U.S. Originating in India and the Middle East, this device is made up of a long smoking hose connected to a glass base filled with water. A stem with a small bowl sits atop the base. Tobacco is placed in the small bowl and is burned with charcoal. The tobacco smoke is pulled down the stem, through the water and into the hose where the smoker inhales. Because hookah smoking is usually a social behavior, a hookah pipe may have multiple smoking hoses.

And, because collegiate hobbies are so much more entertaining when described by old scientific types, we'll let them continue.

During a hookah smoking session, many individuals share a single mouthpiece to pull smoke through the pipe. This aspect may increase the spread of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, herpes, and others (Maziak et al., 2004).

OK, wait. This is getting gross, bro. Better believe it: “Sorry L.A. Hookah Hipster: That Pipe is Dirty, and Could be Bad for Your Health.”


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