Longitudinal Pathways of Exclusive and Polytobacco Hookah Use Among Youth, Young Adults and Adults in the USA: Findings From the PATH Study Waves 1-3 (2013-2016)

Tob Control. 2020 May;29(Suppl 3):s155-s162. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2020-055625.


Objective: The goal of this study is to examine cross-sectional rates of use and longitudinal pathways of hookah use among US youth (ages 12-17), young adults (ages 18-24), and adults 25+ (ages 25 and older).

Design: Data were drawn from the first three waves (2013-2016) of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study, a nationally representative, longitudinal cohort study of US adults and youth. Respondents with data at all three waves (youth, n=11 046; young adults, n=6478; adults 25+, n=17 188) were included in longitudinal analyses.

Results: Young adults had higher ever, past 12-month (P12M) and past 30-day cross-sectional prevalence of hookah use at each wave than youth or adults 25+. The majority of Wave 1 (W1) hookah users were P12M users of other tobacco products (youth: 73.9%, young adults: 80.5%, adults 25+: 83.2%). Most youth and adult W1 P12M hookah users discontinued use in Wave 2 or Wave 3 (youth: 58.0%, young adults: 47.5%, adults 25+: 63.4%). Most W1 P12M hookah polytobacco users used cigarettes (youth: 49.4%, young adults: 59.4%, adults 25+: 63.2%) and had lower rates of quitting all tobacco than exclusive hookah users or hookah polytobacco users who did not use cigarettes.

Conclusions: Hookah use is more common among young adults than among youth or adults 25+. Discontinuing hookah use is the most common pathway among exclusive or polytobacco hookah users. Understanding longitudinal transitions in hookah use is important in understanding behavioural outcomes at the population level.

Keywords: non-cigarette tobacco products; prevention; surveillance and monitoring.