Young adults believe e-cigarettes, hookahs safer than cigarettes: study

New Brunswick, NJ – Many young adults consider e-cigarettes and hookahs safer than traditional cigarettes, according to a new study from Rutgers University.

The study involved nearly 2,900 adults 18 to 34 years old, both smokers and non-smokers. Nearly 58 percent of participants said e-cigarettes are safer than cigarettes, and about 25 percent believe hookahs are less harmful than cigarettes.

Other findings include:

  • Nearly 63 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds believe e-cigarettes are safer than cigarettes, compared with nearly 55 percent of those 25 to 34. 
  • Almost 33 percent of participants younger than 25, as well as nearly 19 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds, said hookahs are less risky than cigarettes. 
  • Half of participants consider methanol cigarettes, hookahs, cigars, smokeless tobacco and snus as harmful as cigarettes. 
  • Nearly 32 percent said they have smoked at least 100 cigarettes and smoked regularly. 

“This is concerning as it suggests that even a substantial proportion of nonsmokers may view hookah as being a relatively safer and acceptable way to use tobacco,” the researchers wrote.

Although participants said they believe some products are less safe than cigarettes, they still use them, according to researchers.

The study was published Aug. 24 in the journal Health Education & Behavior.

Ingredients in e-cigarettes are unknown because they are not labeled, and evidence is lacking on whether e-cigarettes are safe, according to the National Library of Medicine.