Objective: To determine whether the consumption of tobacco used in Water-Pipe by drivers increases the risk of a motor vehicle collision as a consequence of hypoxia.
Design: Analytical case-control study.
Data sources: Seventy exclusive Water-Pipe smokers (Experimental Group--EG)--mean age ± SD: 29.47 ± 10.45 years; mean number of weekly WPS, (6.9 ± 3.7); mean duration of WPS (WPS) is (7.5 ± 2.1 years)--and thirty non-smoker (Control Group--CG; mean age ± SD: 36.33 ± 13.92 years) were recruited during 2011 from two Arab villages located in the Galilee, northern Israel.
Methods: We performed a case-control study exclusively among Water-Pipe smokers with an appropriate non smokers control group. Demographic questionnaire, Pulse Oxymeter for blood oxygenation measure and a driver simulator for measuring various participants driving behaviors were utilized. Statistical analysis for analyzing the different variables, Pearson's x2 analysis for the comparison of categorical variables, continuous variable is compared using Student's t-test and for testing the correlation between the different variables and bivariate correlation analysis were applied.
Results: In the (EG) following WPS, we observed increase in the pulse rate--from 80 to 95 (t = 11.84, p < 0.05) and decrease in saturation level from 97.9 to 97.32, the decrease is statistically significant (t = 3.01, p < 0.05) versus no change in (CG). An increased number of accidents among EG (OR is 1.333 with CI of 1.008-1.776), while in CG, an insignificantly decrease (t = 3.08, p < 0.05). In EG an increase in centerline crossings (OR is 1.306 with CI of 1.016-1.679), also the total time not being within the lane was increased and the estimated (OR: 1.329; CI: 1.025-1.722). WPS increases the number of accidents by 33% and Hypoxia can cause driving behavioral turbulences.
Conclusion: The results show that WPS has a significant impact on driving behavior and on the risk of being involved in road accidents and causing driving to become riskier and less careful and stable. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time such relationships have been tested. After WPS the total number of traffic accidents and driving violations increase. The results show a significant increase in the pulse rate immediately after WPS with a decrease in the saturation rate (the level of blood oxygenation); these changes continue half an hour after WPS.