Correlates of hookah use and predictors of hookah trial in U.S. young adults

Am J Prev Med. 2015 Jun;48(6):742-6. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2015.01.010. Epub 2015 Apr 15.


Introduction: Hookah, or waterpipe, tobacco smoking has increased among young adults (YAs) in the U.S., but few prospective studies have examined predictors of hookah use. The current study examined correlates of hookah use and predictors of hookah initiation at a 6-month follow-up in a nationally representative, prospective sample of U.S. YAs.

Methods: Data were drawn from a subset of participants aged 18-24 years at study entry from two waves of the Legacy Young Adult Cohort Study. Wave 5 was completed in July 2013 by 1,555 participants and 74% (n=1,150) completed follow-up 6 months later in January 2014. Weighted bivariate and multivariable analyses were conducted in June 2014 to estimate the prevalence and correlates of ever and past 30-day hookah use and to examine associations between baseline covariates and hookah initiation 6 months later.

Results: At baseline (Wave 5), almost 25% of the sample had ever used hookah and 4% reported past 30-day use. Alcohol, marijuana, and cigarette use were more prevalent among ever and past 30-day hookah users than among never users. Eight percent of never users at baseline reported trying hookah at the 6-month follow-up. Significant predictors of hookah trial in a multivariable model included college enrollment; alcohol, marijuana, and cigarette use; and perceptions that hookah is less harmful than cigarettes.

Conclusions: Results highlight rapid transitions in hookah use and several risk factors for initiation. Future studies should examine how these factors could be used as intervention targets to reduce tobacco use in this vulnerable age group.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / epidemiology
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Underage Drinking / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult