Policy Implications and Research Recommendations: A Review of Hookah Use Among US College Students


The rate of Hookah use among college students during the last decade is about 30%. Although college students perceive hookah use as a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes, hookah use increases the risk of disease and nicotine dependence, and therefore remains an area of concern. Presently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has little regulation for the manufacture, distribution, or sale of hookah. This review attempts to assess empirical literature relating to hookah use while focusing on the consequences for regulatory policy. PubMed (including MEDLINE 2010–2017), PsycINFO, EBSCO, Scopus (Elsevier) databases were examined to pinpoint articles published in English. The following terms were used in the searches: Hookah or Waterpipe or nargile or “arghile” or “shisha” or “hubble bubble” or “alternative tobacco product” or “flavored tobacco”. Hookah use may initiate smoking among tobacconaïve college students. College students who use hookah are generally not aware of the increased risks for tobacco related diseases as it relates to their behavior. In addition, few public health messages target college-age adults with anti-hookah messages. A lack of information regarding the dangers and potential harms of hookah use may be misinterpreted as a sign of “safety” which inadvertently may imply a suggestion of no need for safety measures. Hence, a research agenda that would inform about health policy actions has been proposed.

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Correspondence to Bradley Fevrier.

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Fevrier, B., Vidourek, R.A. & Privitera, P. Policy Implications and Research Recommendations: A Review of Hookah Use Among US College Students. J Community Health 43, 1012–1018 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-018-0502-4

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  • Hookah
  • Shisha
  • Waterpipe
  • Co-occurring substance use
  • Marijuana
  • Hookah and other drug use