Cigarette and waterpipe smoking among Lebanese adolescents, a cross-sectional study, 2003-2004.Nicotine Tob Res 2008; 10(2):309-14NT
Waterpipe or "argileh" is a form of smoking other than cigarettes that is currently spreading among people of all ages. The objective of the present study was to assess tobacco smoking practices (waterpipe and/or cigarette) among public and private adolescent school students in Beirut, Lebanon. A sample of 2,443 students selected from 10 private and 3 public schools with intermediate/secondary classes filled out a self-administered anonymous questionnaire that inquired about sociodemographic characteristics, and behavior about tobacco smoking. Binary analysis was performed as well as three regression models for the relationship between exclusive cigarettes smoking, exclusive waterpipe smoking and both cigarettes and waterpipe as the dependent variables and gender, type of school, and class as the independent variables. The current prevalence of cigarettes smoking was 11.4%, and that of waterpipe smoking was 29.6%. Gender was significantly associated with cigarettes (OR=3.2, 95% CI 1.8-5.6) but not waterpipe smoking. Public school students were, respectively, 3.2 (95% CI 1.8-5.6) and 1.7 (95% CI 1.4-2.1) times more likely to be exclusive cigarettes smokers, and exclusive waterpipe smokers. Class was not significantly associated with exclusive cigarette smoking; however, students attending secondary classes were 1.3 (95% CI 1.1-1.6) times more likely to be exclusive waterpipe smokers. The reasons behind the high prevalence of both types of smoking are presented and discussed. The present study calls for school-based prevention programs and other types of interventions such as tax increases, and age-restrictions on tobacco sales. More aggressive interventions to disseminate education and awareness among parents and students altogether are warranted.