Alcohol/hookah tobacco to be studied

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has awarded Oklahoma State University clinical psychology graduate student Elly Leavens a fellowship to examine the co-use of alcohol and hookah tobacco.

The Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (better known as an “F31”) will support two years of Leavens’ tuition, stipend, and offset costs associated with education, training and travel.  As part of the application process, candidates must show their project is viable without the fellowship so her research is backed by the Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center (funded by the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust).

While more traditional methods of smoking tobacco and consuming alcohol have been studied, Leavens became aware of a lack of research on hookah smoking, which she describes as uniquely social.  Often consumed in lounges, where alcohol is also served, hookah (a.k.a “waterpipe” or “hubble bubble”) is a means for smoking tobacco, typically through multiple hoses out of a single hookah.  This method leads to a considerable amount of smoke inhalation.

“The smoke consumed in one session of water hookah is equivalent to smoking about 100 cigarettes,” Leavens estimated.