Prevalence of waterpipe (Shisha, Narghille, Hookah) use among adults in Great Britain and factors associated with waterpipe use: data from cross-sectional Online Surveys in 2012 and 2013

Nicotine Tob Res. 2014 Jul;16(7):931-8. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntu015. Epub 2014 Feb 18.


Introduction: We assessed the prevalence and frequency of waterpipe smoking among adults (aged 18+ years) in Great Britain (GB) and determined demographic factors associated with use.

Methods: We used cross-sectional representative population surveys conducted online in 2012 and 2013. A total of 12,436 adults in 2012 and 12,171 in 2013 were recruited from a commercial online survey panel.

Results: The prevalence of ever use of waterpipe across both survey years combined was 11.6% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 11.0-12.1). Frequent use (at least once or twice a month) was 1.0% (95% CI = 0.8-1.2) and was similar in both 2012 and 2013. There was some suggestion of increased ever but not frequent use among 18-24-year-olds between survey years. After adjustment for covariates, females had lower odds of ever waterpipe use than males (odds ratio [OR] = 0.71, 95% CI = 0.63-0.79), those in the lowest social grade had lower odds of use compared to those in the highest social grade (OR = 0.43, 95% CI = 0.35-0.54), older people were at much lower odds of ever use than younger people, ever having smoked cigarettes increased odds of ever waterpipe use, and being Asian (OR = 1.84, 95% CI = 1.39-2.45) or of mixed ethnicity (OR = 2.36, 95% CI = 1.64-3.40) increased likelihood of ever use compared to White ethnicity.

Conclusions: Frequent waterpipe smoking was relatively rare in these representative samples of the GB adult population, and prevalence was similar between 2012 and 2013. Continued monitoring and targeted interventions are appropriate.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Young Adult