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Self-reported prevalence of water pipe tobacco smoking increased among emerging adults from 2012-2015

Previous research has shown water pipe (i.e., hookah) tobacco smoking (WTS) is highest among 18- to 24-year-olds, the age group known as emerging adults. A new study examined the prevalence and correlates of current WTS among U.S. emerging adults. Participants were respondents of the 2012-2013 (N = 3,577) and 2014-2015 (N = 4,439) National Adults Tobacco Surveys (NATS) who were aged 18 to 24 years. Measures included current water pipe tobacco use (dependent variable), cigarette smoking, other tobacco product use, e-cigarette use, and sociodemographic characteristics. Results showed 18.3% of emerging adults reported current WTS in 2012-2013, compared to 20.1% in 2014-2015. Prevalence rates of other tobacco use during each respective wave were 22.2% and 20.6% for current cigarette use, 7.2% and 6.9% for smokeless tobacco use, and 9.6% and 13.5% for e-cigarette use. Multivariable analyses showed current users of cigarettes (OR: 2.37, CI: 1.73, 3.26 in 2012-2013 and OR: 1.65, CI: 1.25, 2.18 in 2014-2015), cigars/cigarillos (OR: 2.83, CI: 2.07, 3.86 and OR: 2.79, CI: 2.15, 3.63), pipes (OR: 3.93, CI: 2.31, 6.68 and OR: 4.38, CI: 2.69, 7.13), and e-cigarettes (OR: 2.51, CI: 1.64, 3.86 and OR: 4.16, CI: 3.20, 5.42) were more likely to be current water pipe smokers than non-current users, controlling for the effects of covariates. Emerging adults aged 22-24 years old and self-identified African Americans were less likely to engage in WTS, while self-identified Hispanics, sexual minorities, and participants who attended or completed college were more likely to engage in WTS.

Take away: The prevalence of self-reported current water pipe tobacco smoking among a national sample of emerging adults increased from 18.3% in 2012-2013 to 20.1% in 2014-2015. Current users of cigarettes, cigars/cigarillos, pipes, and e-cigarettes had higher odds of current water pipe smoking than non-current users of these products.

Citation: Kates FR, Haider MR & Laberge M (2017). Prevalence and determinants of water pipe tobacco and polytobacco use among 18- to 24-year-old emerging adults in the United States [published online ahead of print September 4 2017], Emerging Adulthood doi: 10.1177/2167696817728177

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