Research paper
Young adult waterpipe tobacco users’ perceived addictiveness of waterpipe tobacco
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Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Washington, United States
Duke University, School of Nursing, Durham, United States
Publish date: 2017-12-05
Submission date: 2017-08-02
Final revision date: 2017-10-13
Acceptance date: 2017-11-11
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2017;3(December):133
Young adults generally do not perceive waterpipe tobacco smoking (WTS) to be addictive. Underlying reasons for these false perceptions have received limited research attention and little is known about effective WTS prevention messaging. This study examined perceptions of the addictiveness of WTS among young adults and ascertained their feedback on WTS prevention message content.

Young adult (n=44, Mean [M] age 25.3, SD 2.7, range 18-30) waterpipe tobacco users were recruited online for a cross-sectional survey. Closed-ended measures assessed demographics, waterpipe use, other tobacco consumption, and perceived addictiveness of WTS. Open-ended items assessed perceptions of WTS and ascertained feedback on WTS prevention message content. Quantitative data were analyzed descriptively. Open-ended data were coded to identify emerging themes.

Participants reported low perceived addictiveness of WTS (Mean 2.0, SD 0.9, range 1- not at all, 4 - very), perceived chances of becoming addicted (Mean 3.0, SD 1.6, range 1- no chance, 7- certain), and desire to quit (Mean 3.0, SD 1.8, range 1- not at all, 7- very). In open-ended responses, participants indicated social WTS does not lead to addiction and believe it is easy to quit. Some expressed concerns that WTS addiction may lead to health harms, social stigma, and financial costs. Participants indicated messages using vivid imagery and conveying negative health effects could motivate cessation.

Young adults view that WTS is not addictive, particularly related to use in social settings. Research can build from this study by developing and testing messages to motivate WTS cessation in young adults.

Darren Mays   
Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, 3300 Whitehaven Street NW, Suite 4100, 20007 Washington, United States
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