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A Geospatial Analysis of Public 4-Year Universities and Open Hookah Bars in the United States


Online and in person, hookah use is promoted as a safer alternative to traditional methods of tobacco consumption. Hookah bars promote themselves as businesses with novel flavors and opportunities for social connection. Young people are particularly likely to be enticed by continual exposure to hookah bars. In a sample of public 4-year universities in the US, open hookah bars most commonly settled near campuses that had a high proportion of students living under the poverty line or students of color. Additionally, open hookah bars near universities were more likely to promote lower prices, making their business accessible to young people. The ways in which hookah bars are promoting themselves near universities is particularly concerning.

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