This study investigated behavioral and sociodemographic factors associated with tobacco use among female university students patronizing water pipe cafes in Cairo, Egypt. We interviewed two groups of female university student smokers . The interviews took place in nine water pipe cafes near the two universities. A logistic regression model was developed to analyze the relationship between tobacco-related knowledge and beliefs and the choice between smoking water pipe or cigarettes. Among these smokers, smoked cigarettes only, smoked roor water pipes only, and smoked both types of tobacco. Most of the water pipe smokers preferred this method because they believe it to be less harmful than smoking cigarettes. More than half of the subjects were encouraged to start smoking by other females. Curiosity was a significant factor for initiation. We found no significant differences between water pipe and cigarette smokers regarding current age, age at initiation, quit attempts, knowledge about the hazards of smoking, wanting to be fashionable, or smoking with friends. About one in four attempted to quit, with health cited as a major reason. An urgent need exists for correction of the misperception among this study population that water pipe smoking is safe and less harmful than cigarette smoking.
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