Waterpipe smoking among college students in the United States: a review of the literature

J Am Coll Health. 2012;60(3):244-9. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2011.589419.


Objective: To review the literature on college student waterpipe use with a focus on undergraduates in the United States.

Participants: Undergraduate students.

Methods: Studies were accessed using the databases PubMed, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Academic Search Premier. Searches included combinations of the following keywords: "waterpipe," "hookah," "shisha," "nargila," "argileh," "hubble bubble," "college," "university," and "student."

Results: Results demonstrate that approximately 1 in 5 American college students report past-year waterpipe use. Results also suggest that there are a number of established correlates of waterpipe smoking, including male gender, Arab ethnicity, cigarette smoking, and the belief that waterpipe smoking is less harmful than cigarette smoking.

Conclusions: Despite its harmful health effects, waterpipe smoking is quite common among college students. Future research with better methodologies and theoretical frameworks are needed to advance the field.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Students / psychology
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Universities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult