Since the 1990s, use of water pipes (WPs) and electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) has become more
prevalent among young adults and students across the world. These products are readily available
and are believed to be a healthier option compared to conventional cigarettes. Students may also
use these products as a means of socializing and alleviating stress. In this study, we determined
the prevalence and use of WPs and e-cigs among oral health students at a South African
university. In this cross-sectional analytical study, we invited all undergraduate oral health
students at a dental university in South Africa to participate. The students were divided into
clinical and non-clinical categories, depending on their year of study and completed a selfadministered
questionnaire. The response rate was 72% (269) and 70% (189) of them were
female. The participants were on average 21.8 years (±2.7) old and 61% were classified as
clinical students. Of the participants, 54% used WPs and 22% smoked e-cigs. Using these
products was associated with being a male student (WPs: p = 0.03 and e-cigs: p = 0.02). Sixty
percent of participants used WPs and e-cigs to relax and conventional cigarettes was associated
with WPs (p<0.01) and e-cigs (p<0.01). Almost all e-cig users (94%) also used a WP regularly.
Undergraduate dental and oral hygiene students readily use WPs and e-cigs to relax, despite
negative impacts on health.