Background: Explaining the risk and protective factors of waterpipe tobacco smoking (WTS) is the most
important principle in designing preventive interventions. This study examined the relationship between
self-reported childhood abuse and WTS among health science students in Iran.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among 776 health science students in Kerman City,
located in southeast of Iran, who were selected by quota sampling approach. The study was performed using
two valid short instruments for measuring WTS and child abuse including physical, emotional, and sexual
abuse using a self-report method.
Findings: The prevalence of ever use and current use (last 30 days) of WTS among participants was 49.6%
and 33.4%, respectively. The initiation age of WTS in 60% of students was < 18 years. Child sexual abuse
(CSA) was [odds ratio (OR) = 3.05, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.06-4.52, P < 0.001] the main predictor
for WTS among students.
Conclusion: Protecting children during childhood to prevent them from becoming victims may be an
essential primordial preventive strategy for WTS.