Water pipe smoking among public versus private university students in Ankara, Turkey: an online survey

BMC Public Health. 2022 Jun 25;22(1):1256. doi: 10.1186/s12889-022-13616-9.


Background: Water pipe smoking has become a global public health problem as its popularity increased over time, especially among youth. The objective of our study was to estimate water pipe tobacco smoking prevalence and to assess socioeconomic factors associated with ever water pipe smoking by public and private university students in Ankara, Turkey.

Methods: This descriptive study was based on a survey conducted among public (n=2685) and private (n=2485) university students via an online questionnaire on demographics and water pipe consumption patterns. For every student in the sample, a socioeconomic status index was calculated using principal component analysis. Binary logistic regressions for the outcome variable of ever-using water pipe yielded estimates of adjusted odds ratios (aORs) for the associated factors such as the respondent's age, gender, university type, and socioeconomic status.

Results: The prevalence of ever use of water pipe was 69.1% (95% CI: 67.2-70.9%) among private and 59.1% (95% CI: 57.2-60.9%) among public university students. A substantial share of ever users were current users (25.5% in private versus 21.6% in public, p=0.008). On average, private university students had higher socioeconomic status than public university students (for example, access to a car (51.7% versus 35.8%, p=0.008), financial support from family (71.5% versus 65.1%, p<0.001)), also demonstrated by a higher socioeconomic status index. Being a private university student (aOR 1.57, 95% CI: 1.38-1.79), older (aORs 1.50 to 2.39, p<0.001), male (aOR 2.36, 95% CI:2.06-2.70), as well as having greater financial resources, such as having access to a car (aOR 1.24, 95% CI:1.07-1.42), or having income support from family (aOR 1.32, 95% CI:1.13-1.54), were associated with ever-using water pipe. A higher SES index was significantly associated with higher odds of ever using water pipe among both private (aOR 1.13, 95% CI:1.06,1.20) and public university (aOR 1.12, 95% CI:1.06,1.19) students.

Conclusions: Water pipe smoking was common in both public and private universities; however, private university students had higher odds of ever using water pipe. There is an urgent need to implement evidence-based interventions, taking into account the socioeconomic status of young adults, to prevent them from water pipe smoking.

Keywords: Hookah; Narghile; Prevalence; Shisha; Turkey; University student; Water pipe smoking; Young adult.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Students
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Turkey / epidemiology
  • Universities
  • Water Pipe Smoking* / epidemiology
  • Young Adult