Prevalence of and associations with waterpipe tobacco smoking among U.S. university students

Ann Behav Med. 2008 Aug;36(1):81-6. doi: 10.1007/s12160-008-9047-6. Epub 2008 Aug 22.


Background: Although waterpipe tobacco smoking seems to be increasing on U.S. university campuses, these data have come from convenience samples.

Purpose: We aimed to determine the prevalence of and associations with waterpipe tobacco smoking among a random sample of students.

Methods: We surveyed a random sample of graduate and undergraduate students at a large, urban university. We used multivariate modeling to determine independent associations between belief-related predictors and waterpipe tobacco smoking.

Results: Of the 647 respondents, waterpipe smoking was reported in 40.5%, over the past year in 30.6%, and over the past 30 days in 9.5%. Over half of the sample (52.1%) perceived that tobacco smoking from a waterpipe was less addictive than cigarette smoking. In fully adjusted multivariate models, 1-year waterpipe smoking was associated with low perceived harm (OR = 2.54, 95% CI = 1.68, 3.83), low perceived addictiveness (OR = 4.64, 95% CI = 3.03, 7.10), perception of high social acceptability (OR = 20.00, 95% CI = 6.03, 66.30), and high perception of popularity (OR = 4.72, 95% CI = 2.85, 7.82).

Conclusions: In this sample, lifetime waterpipe use was as common as lifetime cigarette use. Perception of harm, perception of addictiveness, social acceptability, and popularity were all strongly related to waterpipe smoking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Filtration / instrumentation
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Nicotiana
  • Reference Values
  • Regression Analysis
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Social Perception
  • Students
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / psychology*
  • Universities
  • Water
  • Young Adult


  • Water