Hookah use patterns, social influence and associated other substance use among a sample of New York City public university students

El Shahawy, Omar; Park, Su Hyun; Rogers, Erin S.; Shearston, Jenni A.; Thompson, Azure B.; Cooper, Spring C.; Freudenberg, Nicholas; Ball, Samuel A.; Abrams, David; Shelley, Donna; Sherman, Scott E.

Most hookah use studies have not included racial and ethnic minorities which limits our understanding of its use among these growing populations. This study aimed to investigate the individual characteristics of hookah use patterns and associated risk behaviors among an ethnically diverse sample of college students.

A cross-sectional survey of 2460 students (aged 18–25) was conducted in 2015, and data was analyzed in 2017. Descriptive statistics were used to present the sociodemographic characteristics, hookah use-related behavior, and binge drinking and marijuana use according to the current hookah use group, including never, exclusive, dual/poly hookah use. Multivariate logistic regression was conducted to examine how hookah related behavior and other risk behaviors varied by sociodemographics and hookah use patterns.

Among current hookah users (n = 312), 70% were exclusive hookah users and 30% were dual/poly hookah users. There were no statistically significant differences in sociodemographic characteristics except for race/ethnicity (p < 0.05). Almost half (44%) of the exclusive hookah users reported having at least five friends who also used hookah, compared to 30% in the dual/poly use group. Exclusive users were less likely to report past year binge drinking (17%) and past year marijuana use (25%) compared to those in the dual/poly use group (44 and 48% respectively); p < 0.001.

The socialization aspects of hookah smoking seem to be associated with its use patterns. Our study calls for multicomponent interventions designed to target poly tobacco use as well as other substance use that appears to be relatively common among hookah users.

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Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy

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Published Here
September 22, 2023


Hookah, Substance use, Young adults