Cigarette, e-cigarette and waterpipe cognitions and use among university students in Guangzhou, China

Sílvia Font-Mayolas, Mark J.M. Sullman, Jiawei D. Hughes, Maria Eugenia Gras, Valentina Lucena Jurado, Fran Calvo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION There is currently little research on polytobacco use in China. The present study examined cognitions that predicted the use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes and waterpipes in a Chinese sample of students. METHODS A convenience sample of 281 university students, obtained using snowball sampling, completed an online survey during the 2019–2020 academic year in Guangzhou, China. RESULTS Men more strongly agreed, than women, with the possible advantages of using alternative nicotine and tobacco products, including: young people who smoke have more friends, smoking makes young people look cool, smoking makes young people feel more comfortable, smoking helps relieve stress, and it would be easy to quit. Factors significantly associated with regular cigarette use were the cognitions: ‘I would smoke if my best friend offered’, ‘Young people who use these products have more friends’, and ‘It would be easy to quit these products’ (global good classifications= 80.1%). In the case of waterpipes, agreement with the cognition: ‘The product helps people relieve stress’ was significantly associated with its use (global good classifications=80.1%). In the case of e-cigarettes, agreement with the cognitions: ‘I would smoke if my best friend offered’ and ‘It would be easy to quit using these products’ were significantly associated with the use of e-cigarettes (global good classifications=74.7%). CONCLUSIONS The results highlight the need to develop prevention programs that prepare young Chinese people to resist social pressure from friends to use tobacco products. There is also evidence of the need to facilitate and disseminate rigorous scientific information among young people about the possible negative health effects of alternative tobacco products. There were also gender differences in the use of these products and in the cognitions towards their use, so it is important to take the gender perspective into account in the analysis of the results and when writing future questionnaire items.

Original languageEnglish
Article number30
JournalTobacco Induced Diseases
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • China
  • cigarettes
  • e-cigarettes
  • polytobacco use
  • waterpipe


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