Prevalence and Predictors of Water Pipe and Cigarette Smoking Among Secondary School Students in London
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INTRODUCTION: Water pipe tobacco smoking appears to be an increasing public health concern, with anecdotal reports of higher prevalence than cigarette smoking among young people in some high-income countries. We examined the prevalence and predictors of water pipe and cigarette smoking among students attending secondary schools in a deprived, ethnically diverse part of inner London. METHODS: We conducted a 96-item, validated smoking habits questionnaire with 2,399 students from Years 8, 10, and 12/13 from 15 secondary schools in Brent, northwest London. Multilevel logistic regression models were used to examine predictors of current and ever cigarette and water pipe smoking. RESULTS: Current water pipe smoking prevalence was more than double that of cigarette smoking prevalence (7.6% vs. 3.4%, p < .001). One in 4 students had tried water pipe compared with 1 in 6 who had tried cigarette smoking (24.0% vs. 15.8%, p < .001). Significant predictors of ever water pipe use include being in a higher age group, South Asian or Middle Eastern ethnicity, and personal, family, or friends tobacco use. Significant predictors of ever cigarette use include being in a higher age group, White ethnicity, and personal, family, or friends tobacco use. Students attending schools with more water pipe cafes within 0.5 miles were more likely to be current water pipe users (AOR = 2.43, 95% CI = 1.33-4.42). CONCLUSIONS: Water pipe smoking may be more prevalent than cigarette smoking among young people in some high-income countries. Improved surveillance and dedicated tobacco control interventions are required to better understand the epidemiology of water pipe use and address its growing use.
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