Descriptive and injunctive norms of waterpipe smoking among college students

Eleanor L.S. Leavens, Emma I. Brett, Taylor L. Morgan, Susanna V. Lopez, Raees A. Shaikh, Thad R. Leffingwell, Theodore L. Wagener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Introduction Smoking tobacco via a waterpipe (WP) is on the rise, particularly among college students. One reason for this may be normative perceptions of WP tobacco smoking (WTS) among this population. The current study examined the perceived and actual descriptive and injunctive norms of WTS among a college student sample. Methods Participants were 894 college students enrolled at a large, Midwestern university. Participants completed measures of WTS frequency and quantity and perceived/actual descriptive and injunctive norms of WTS. Results Over one-third of the sample reported ever trying WTS, while only 2% reported current (past month) use. When comparing ever and never WP smokers, ever smokers reported greater perceived peer approval of WTS. Both males and females overestimated WTS frequency of same-sex students at their university. Discussion The current study is one of the first to investigate descriptive and injunctive norms of WTS among college students. Students who report WTS are more likely to overestimate descriptive norms of WTS among their peers, suggesting corrective normative feedback regarding actual use by peers may be an important target for WTS intervention among college students. Future research should investigate the temporal association between normative perceptions and WTS behaviors among college students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-62
Number of pages4
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Feb 2018


  • College students
  • Descriptive norms
  • Hookah
  • Injunctive norms
  • Normative perceptions
  • Smoking
  • Waterpipe


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