The popularity of hookah water pipes is skyrocketing, far outpacing public health policy. Nearly one in five high school students have smoked hookah, and the phenomenon is gaining ground at hookah bars popping up near college campuses and other areas where 18-to-24-year-olds gather. But applicable health regulations date back a decade, and don't adequately address potential dangers.
Now, Professor and Chair of Chemistry Cindy Hauser and Professor of Biology Karen Bernd have teamed up to conduct the evidence-based research that public health policymakers need. The researchers' three-year, $450,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health is one of just nine such grants awarded nationwide–and the only one that brings undergraduate students to the research lab.
Turns out, toxicity questions around hookah smoke go beyond the material smoked (shisha) to variables like overall pipe size, hose length, hose material, heat source and smoke particle size. Davidson researchers are asking original questions, about these and other variables, that don't have answers–yet.