Prevalence, attitudes, behaviours and policy evaluation of midwakh smoking among young people in the United Arab Emirates: Cross-sectional analysis of the Global Youth Tobacco Survey

Mohammed Jawad, Mohammed Al-Houqani, Raghib Ali, Yehya El Sayed, Omar ElShahawy, Michael Weitzman, Scott Sherman

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Introduction Non-cigarette tobacco products are an increasing public health concern globally. Little is known about midwakh, a pipe indigenous to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This study aimed to assess the prevalence, attitudes, behaviours and policy evaluation of midwakh smoking among 13 to 15 year olds in the UAE. Methods We conducted secondary analyses of the 2013 UAE Global Youth Tobacco Survey. The main three outcomes were ever use, current use (past-30 days), and the number of midwakhs smoked per day. We assessed cessation, attitude, and policy measures. Regression models identified the association between each outcome measure and sex, school grade, nationality, weekly spending money, cigarette use, and parent and peer tobacco use. Results The prevalence of ever and current midwakh use were 18.5% and 9.0%, respectively. Daily midwakh users smoked a median of 8.0 per day while non-daily users smoked 3.8 per month. Higher midwakh prevalence was reported among wealthier males, older age groups, concurrent cigarette users and among participants having peers or parents who use tobacco. There was also variation by nationality. Reduced harm perception was greater among midwakh users than non-users. About 39.6% reported being declined a midwakh purchase due to age, and 35.5% reported noticing health warnings on packages. Conclusions Midwakh use is prevalent among 13 to 15 year olds in the UAE, and burden lies mainly with daily users. Further needed research should not delay implementation and evaluation of policies known to curb tobacco use among youth, including taxation, media campaigns, and provision of cessation services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0215899
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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