2012 OPEN FORUM Abstracts
HOOKED ON HOOKAH: AN EMERGING SOCIAL SMOKING TREND AMONG COLLEGE STUDENTS.
Mary P. Martinasek; Health Science and Human Performance, University of Tampa, Tampa, FL
Background: Hookah smoking is a communal form of social smoking that has grown in popularity among college students. The flavored tobacco, novel experience and social utility have been primary drivers in its usage. Hookah bars are often strategically located around college campuses. Research has indicated that hookah smoking as compared to cigarette smoking has 40 times more tar, 2 times more nicotine and 10 times more carbon monoxide. Methods: Mixed method research was conducted during the fall semester 2011 to assess attitudes, beliefs and behavioral practices of University of Tampa (UT) students regarding hookah smoking. This research was guided by the theory of reasoned action. Random intercept interviews were conducted on campus with UT students, including both hookah smokers and nonsmokers. A survey was then distributed to students via email to improve the understanding of whether personal or social indicators were stronger predictors of intention to smoke, as well as to identify descriptive characteristics of hookah smokers on campus. Results: Seven hundred and forty-six students participated in the online survey. Of these, 468 (63%) have tried hookah smoking and 166 (36%) of those who have tried hookah smoking are current (past 30 days) hookah smokers. The majority of reported ever smokers were female, Caucasian and 18 years of age. One hundred seventy-six students (24%) reported having smoked other substances beside flavored tobacco in a hookah device. Personal factors were the strongest predictor of intention to smoke. Conclusion: The prevalence of hookah smoking among UT students is higher than any previous estimate in a college population reported in the literature. Understanding of the factors that lead to the intention to smoke hookah will help in the development of health educational campaigns and health promotion programs aimed at deterring UT students from smoking hookah and to dispel myths surrounding the safety of its usage. Sponsored Research - None