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Effectiveness of health warnings for waterpipe tobacco smoking among college students

Abstract

Objectives

Youth have the misperception that waterpipe smoking is less harmful than cigarettes despite the evidence that it is associated with nicotine dependence and many of the diseases caused by cigarettes. There is a pressing need to identify effective health warnings that increase awareness about the harmful effects of waterpipe smoking. Our objective was to test the effectiveness of various health warning messages and their location on waterpipe devices.

Methods

Adult waterpipe smokers from a large US university (N = 367) completed an internet-based survey that tested the effect of text-only and pictorial health warning labels and their location on different parts of waterpipe smoking devices.

Results

Text-only messages and pictorial labels warning about harm to children were the most effective in motivating waterpipe smokers to think about quitting. In terms of warning label location, the base, mouthpiece and stem are all equally noticeable locations.

Conclusions

This is the first study to test waterpipe-specific warning labels and location on the waterpipe device. Placing waterpipe-specific labels on waterpipe devices may be an effective policy tool to curb waterpipe smoking.

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Acknowledgments

Dr. Salloum was supported by the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of South Carolina (ASPIRE Program) Grant 35,849. Dr. Maziak is funded by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Grant R01 DA035160.

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Correspondence to Ramzi G. Salloum.

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Islam, F., Salloum, R.G., Nakkash, R. et al. Effectiveness of health warnings for waterpipe tobacco smoking among college students. Int J Public Health 61, 709–715 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-016-0805-0

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Keywords

  • Waterpipe
  • Hookah
  • Shisha
  • Warning labels