Objective: A national surveillance system to track hookah use by adolescents does not exist. A growing body of evidence suggests that high school-aged students are experimenting with this form of tobacco. This study adds to the current literature by providing prevalence estimates and factors associated with hookah use among New Jersey high school students.
Method: This study explores factors associated with hookah use using 2008 NJYTS data. The 2008 NJYTS was a self-reported, paper-and-pencil, cross-sectional survey of a representative sample of 3010 high school students.
Results: 9.7% of NJ high school students are current hookah users. Predictors of hookah use included those who identified as Asian, concurrent tobacco users, perceiving that cigars are safer than cigarettes, or perceiving that smoking looks cool.
Conclusion: The prevalence of hookah use, higher likelihood of concurrent tobacco use among hookah users, and misperceptions of safety and popularity of hookah among NJ adolescents are cause for concern and action. The development and regular implementation of standardized hookah prevalence questions into our national and state surveillance systems, as well as targeted, state-specific youth education and prevention activities are essential to thwart this growing public health concern.
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