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Double trouble: Exploring the association between waterpipe tobacco smoking and the nonmedical use of psychoactive prescription drugs among adolescents

Zahlan, Leona; Ghandour, Lilian A.; Yassin, Nasser; Afifi, Rima; Martins, Silvia S.

Background: In youth, both waterpipe tobacco smoking (WTS) and nonmedical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD) are globally growing concerns. This study assesses for the first time the lifetime and past-year associations between WTS and four classes of psychoactive prescription drugs. Methods: Cross-sectional data (2011) on 986 high school students attending public and private high schools in Beirut (Lebanon) was analyzed. Schools were selected using proportionate random cluster sampling from a comprehensive list of schools provided by the Ministry of Education. Results: Almost half (46%) had tried WTS compared to 25% who had ever tried cigarettes. Lifetime prevalence estimates of NMUPD were: pain relievers (8.2%), sedatives/tranquilizers (5.6%), stimulants (3.5%), antidepressants (2.5%), and sleeping pills (2.3%). WTS was associated with increased odds of sedatives/tranquilizer use (OR = 3.22, 95% CI: 1.25, 8.25), pain reliever use (OR = 4.31, 95% CI: 2.02, 9.17), and sleeping medication use (OR = 8.31, 95% CI: 2.37, 29.20), controlling for sex, age, school type, and other substance use. For cigarettes, the associations were consistently either weaker or non-existent, except with stimulant use (OR = 5.29, 95% CI: 1.55, 18.05). Conclusions: While public health professionals have watched with caution the global prevalence of youth cigarette use–worldwide, an insidious alternative form of tobacco use has grown. Further research is needed to understand the unique risk factors and motives associated with WTS and how these relate to NMUPD in order to inform the development of effective intervention programs and policies that support youth positive health decisions.

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Also Published In

Title
Drug and Alcohol Dependence
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.10.020

More About This Work

Academic Units
Epidemiology
Published Here
April 25, 2017
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