Introduction: Hookah use is increasingly common among U.S. college students, but little is known regarding the relationship between hookah and cigarette use. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that the added nicotine exposure from hookah use may accelerate the uptake of cigarettes.
Methods: An ethnically diverse sample of college students (n = 256; 43% female) who had smoked cigarettes in the past month completed 2 in-person interviews over 6 months. This study was a secondary analysis of data collected for a longitudinal study of young adult cigarette smoking patterns. Analyses examined 6-month changes in past 30 day cigarettes smoked and number of days smoking, controlling for age, nicotine dependence, marijuana use, and the respective baseline variable for each outcome.
Results: Current hookah use (any use in past 30 days) was endorsed by 34% of participants at baseline, while 94% reported lifetime use. Change in past 30 day number of cigarettes (p = .043) and number of smoking days (p = .040) differed significantly between those who did or did not report recent hookah use at baseline. Hookah users reported a greater number of cigarettes smoked at the 6-month follow-up, while nonusers decreased their smoking quantity. For number of smoking days in the past 30, hookah users reported a smaller decrease than nonusers.
Conclusions: Recent hookah use predicted increased cigarette smoking over 6 months in a college sample. These are the first prospective data demonstrating this relationship, indicating the value of developing strategies to prevent hookah use among college students.
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