A Call for Effective Interventions to Curb Shisha Tobacco Smoking among University Students in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia: Findings from a Cross-Sectional Study

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

Department of Pharmacy Practice, College of Clinical Pharmacy, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam-31441, Saudi Arabia.

Abstract

Background: Although the number of cigarettes smoked has been declining due to major public health initiatives,
shisha tobacco smoking is gaining popularity around the world, particularly among youth and university students.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 464 university students in Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia
using a structured questionnaire (i) to assess the prevalence of shisha smoking; (ii) to evaluate risk-perception, knowledge
and normative belief about shisha smoking, and to compare these among users and non-users of shisha. Results:
The study reported a high prevalence (22.8%) of the current use of shisha among the university students with a narrow
gender gap and found that STS is getting more popular than other forms of tobacco. A quarter of participants had low
risk perception and 30.2% had low knowledge of shisha smoking harm. Importantly, more than two-fifth of them were
current users of shisha. Low risk-perception about shisha and social acceptability were significantly contributed to the
high prevalence of shisha smoking among the youth. Conclusion: It is important to provide exposure to education
related to shisha hazards and increase the awareness of students and the public about the health effects of shisha smoking.

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