Did You Know? Hookah Smoking is Common Among College Students

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A recently published study reported on the first nicotine product used among undergraduates who had ever tried tobacco, and explores correlates of hookah as that first product. Participants included a convenience sample of undergraduate students (n = 1538) at four universities in upstate New York during fall 2013. 
Findings included: 
  • Among the 832 students who reported ever use of any nicotine product, 25.4% reported hookah as their first product smoked; only combustible cigarettes (39.5%) were reported more frequently. 
  • Among students who ever smoked cigarettes, most reported cigarettes as their introductory product. 
  • Among students who never smoked cigarettes, nearly half reported hookah as their introductory product. 
  • Among ever nicotine users, current hookah smoking was common (34.9%), and greater than current e-cigarette (25.9%) and current combustible cigarette (26.4%) use. 
  • Never users of cigarettes, females, and non-Hispanic African Americans, had higher adjusted odds of reporting hookah as their introductory product.
The researchers’ recommendations include broadening prevention efforts beyond a focus on combustible cigarettes.
Source: Kulak et al. (2018). Examining Hookah as an Introduction to Nicotine Products among College Students. Substance Use & Misuse, Mar 13:1-9. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2018.1441308. [Epub ahead of print]

Lack of Public Health Messages About Hookah Use Maybe Interpreted As Sign That Hookah Use is Safe

The rate of Hookah use among college students during the last decade is about 30%. Presently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has little regulation for the manufacture, distribution, or sale of hookah. A recently published review of the scientific literature assessed hookah use while focusing on the consequences for regulatory policy.
Findings included:
  • Hookah use may initiate smoking among tobacconaïve college students.
  • College students who use hookah are generally not aware of the increased risks for tobacco related diseases as it relates to their behavior.
  • Few public health messages target college-age adults with anti-hookah messages.
  • A lack of information regarding the dangers and potential harms of hookah use may be misinterpreted as a sign of “safety” which inadvertently may imply a suggestion of no need for safety measures.
Source: Fevrier et al. (2018). Policy Implications and Research Recommendations: A Review of Hookah Use Among US College Students. Journal of Community Health, Mar 30. doi: 10.1007/s10900-018-0502-4. [Epub ahead of print]

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