Introduction: The prevalence of hookah tobacco smoking is increasing, and the transition to college is a vulnerable time for initiation. Hookah use is associated with other forms of substance use, but most research has been cross-sectional, thus limiting our understanding of temporal patterns of use. The goals of this longitudinal study were to assess the prevalence of hookah use and initiation, as well as other forms of substance use among hookah users, and identify which forms of substance use predicted hookah initiation during the first 30 days of college. Methods: Incoming students (N = 936, 50% female) reported on past 30-day substance use prior to the start of the Fall 2011 semester and again 30 days later (n = 817). Substances included hookah, cigarettes, other forms of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and other illegal drugs. Results: Current prevalence of hookah use increased from 9.0% before college to 13.1% during the first month of college. At baseline and follow-up, current hookah users were more likely than nonusers to report current use of cigarettes, cigars/little cigars/clove cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, marijuana, and alcohol. Among pre-college hookah never users, 13.8% initiated hookah use in the first month of college. Alcohol (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.11, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05, 1.17) and marijuana (AOR 1.30, 95% CI 1.03, 1.65) were the only substances predictive of hookah initiation. Conclusions: Findings indicate that hookah prevention and intervention is needed during the transition to college, and interventions may need to address comorbid alcohol, marijuana, and hookah use. Implications: To our knowledge this is the first longitudinal study examining predictors of hookah initiation among male and female incoming first-year college students. While hookah users were more likely than nonusers to use all other substances before and during the first month of college, pre-college marijuana and alcohol use were the only two predictors of hookah initiation during the first 30 days of college. Collectively, these findings provide additional support for the need for efficacious hookah prevention and intervention programs. The transition to college appears to be an ideal time to deliver prevention programs given the increased prevalence of hookah use during the first 30 days of college. In addition to prevention, former users may benefit from targeted relapse prevention as one-fifth of former hookah smokers resumed use during the first 30 days of college.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health