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Am J Prev Med. 2012 Feb;42(2):150-6. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2011.10.013.

U.S. hookah tobacco smoking establishments advertised on the internet.

Author information

  • 1Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania, USA. bprimack@pitt.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Establishments dedicated to hookah tobacco smoking recently have proliferated and helped introduce hookah use to U.S. communities.

PURPOSE:

To conduct a comprehensive, qualitative assessment of websites promoting these establishments.

METHODS:

In June 2009, a systematic search process was initiated to access the universe of websites representing major hookah tobacco smoking establishments. In 2009-2010, codebook development followed an iterative paradigm involving three researchers and resulted in a final codebook consisting of 36 codes within eight categories. After two independent coders had nearly perfect agreement (Cohen's κ = 0.93) on double-coding the data in the first 20% of sites, the coders divided the remaining sites and coded them independently. A thematic approach to the synthesis of findings and selection of exemplary quotations was used.

RESULTS:

The search yielded a sample of 144 websites originating from states in all U.S. regions. Among the hookah establishments promoted on the websites, 79% served food and 41% served alcohol. Of the websites, none required age verification, <1% included a tobacco-related warning on the first page, and 4% included a warning on any page. Although mention of the word tobacco was relatively uncommon (appearing on the first page of only 26% sites and on any page of 58% of sites), the promotion of flavorings, pleasure, relaxation, product quality, and cultural and social aspects of hookah smoking was common.

CONCLUSIONS:

Websites may play a role in enhancing or propagating misinformation related to hookah tobacco smoking. Health education and policy measures may be valuable in countering this misinformation.

Copyright © 2012 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:
22261211
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3391575
Free PMC Article

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