Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of waterpipe (shisha) smoking and associated factors among Malaysian university students.
Methodology: A total of 200 university students from Management and Science University participated in this study. The survey was conducted by simple random sampling by randomly distributing self-administered questionnaires to the library, cafeterias and classes. The protocol of this study was approved by the ethics committee of Management and Science University. Consent forms were obtained from the students before they answered the questionnaire. Statistical analyses were performed using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 13. with the Student's t-test for comparison of the mean practice and backward multiple linear regression for multivariate analysis.
Results: The majority of the subjects were male, single, Malay and from urban areas (61.5%, 94.5%, 66%, 76.5%; respectively). In this study 30% of the study participants were shisha smokers. Regarding knowledge about shisha smoking, the majority (48.5%) mentioned that shisha is less harmful than cigarettes and 55% reported that shisha is less addictive. Univariate analysis showed that age, race, sex and income significantly influenced the practice of smoking shisha among university students (p=0.019, p=0.002, p=0.001, p=0.018; respectively). For multivariate analysis, income and gender demonstrated significant influence (both p=0.001).
Conclusion: There was a high prevalence of shisha smoking among Malaysian university students and knowledge about the dangers is low. Income and gender significantly influenced the practice of smoking shisha in our population. Banning of smoking including shisha smoking in public places is strongly recommended.