The Waterpipe: A New Way of Hooking Youth on Tobacco

Authors

  • Wasim Maziak MD, PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Epidemiology, Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, Florida International University, Miami, Florida
    • Address correspondence to Dr. Maziak, Professor and Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, Miami, Florida; International University, Director, Syrian Center for Tobacco Studies, 11200 SW 8th St. AHC-II 590, Miami, FL 33199. E-mail: wmaziak@fiu.edu.

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Abstract

Background

Tobacco smoking continues to be the number one preventable cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Several evidence-based interventions and policies have been successful in reducing cigarette smoking in developed countries. Globally, however, many beginning smokers are introduced to tobacco by means other than cigarettes. In particular, waterpipe smoking (a.k.a. hookah, narghile, shisha) has been dramatically increasing among youth worldwide.

Methods

In this short review, I will introduce the reader to this emerging tobacco use method and focus on its addictive properties, and how this pertains to the development of effective interventions to curb its spread.

Results and Conclusions

Waterpipe smoking is likely to be associated with much of the harmful effects of cigarette smoking, is addictive, and can serve as a bridge to cigarettes. Due to its unique features, waterpipe-specific interventions and policies are needed to curb the global waterpipe epidemic. (Am J Addict 2014;23:103–107)

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