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Determining Risk of Transfer of Hookah Tobacco Thirdhand Smoke

Institution: San Diego State University Research Foundation
Investigator(s): Nada Kassem,
Award Cycle: 2019 (Cycle 30) Grant #: T30IR0894 Award: $1,128,750
Subject Area: Environmental Exposure/Toxicology
Award Type: High Impact Research Project Award

Initial Award Abstract
Hookah lounges have been on the rise in the United States, particularly in close proximity to colleges, likely targeting students. The increase in popularity of attending hookah lounges is possibly due to the belief that hookah tobacco smoking is safer than cigarettes, hookah smoking takes place in group settings, and lack of public health interventions to educate the youth about the harmful effects of hookah use. Patrons of hookah lounges are exposed to indoor air quality levels considered hazardous to human health. Hookah lounges are exempt from some clean indoor air legislation. Regulating hookah lounges are imperative to reduce morbidity and mortality related to smoking tobacco in hookahs, and to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) and thirdhand smoke (THS). THS was found to be genotoxic in human cell lines. Skin and clothes pose as vehicles to transfer THS toxicants to home environments. This is the first study to focus on investigating the risk of transfer of THS from social events in hookah lounges to indoor home environments where children and nonsmokers may reside. We will recruit 40 exclusive hookah tobacco smokers, their 25 non-smoker friends who socialize with them, and 25 non-smokers not exposed to any tobacco products. Participants will be young adult women of childbearing age (21-35 years). Hookah smokers and non-smokers will attend an exclusive hookah tobacco smoking social event in a hookah lounge. Hookah smokers will smoke hookah tobacco as they normally do. Participants will complete a tobacco use questionnaire, provide 2 breath carbon monoxide measurements and 2 urine samples before and after the hookah lounge visit; 1 wrist band and 1 clothing sample worn during the hookah smoking social event; and 1 pillow case used during the night following the hookah smoking social event. All fabric samples and 10% of their corresponding blanks will be analyzed for nicotine, and powerful tobacco-specific carcinogens. Cotinine, the metabolite of the addictive drug nicotine will be quantified in urine samples. Findings will inform state agencies and local communities to design tailored interventions to reduce hookah use, and regulate the spread of hookah lounges.