Differential relationships between religiosity, cigarette smoking, and waterpipe use: implications for college student health

J Am Coll Health. 2013;61(7):381-5. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2013.819806.


Objective: Using a framework informed by problem behavior theory, the authors examined differential relationships between religiosity and the frequency of cigarette and waterpipe tobacco smoking.

Participants: Six hundred fourteen individuals beginning their freshman year at a large, public, midwestern university.

Methods: Paper-and-pencil surveys were administered to students who attended freshman orientation. Electronic surveys were sent to students who did not attend orientation.

Results: Although a latent, generalized religiosity factor was negatively associated with frequency of cigarette smoking, there was no such relationship for frequency of waterpipe use.

Conclusions: Conceptualizing waterpipe tobacco smoking in terms of problem behavior theory may be inappropriate, given its lack of association with religiosity. These results may reflect the perception that waterpipe use is a more socially acceptable form of tobacco use that is less harmful to health than cigarette smoking, despite medical evidence to the contrary. Implications for prevention and intervention are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Midwestern United States / epidemiology
  • Religion*
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / ethnology
  • Students*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities
  • Young Adult