Table of Contents:
The Ten Myths:
- Myth 1: Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) or ««Waterpipe»» Are Similar Objects
- Myth 2: Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Scientific Research Started Off in 2002
- Myth 3: Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Does Not Filter Out Toxins and Equals 100 Cigarettes (at least)
- Myth 4: Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Smoking Causes “Nicotine Addiction”
- Myth 5: Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Appeared for the First Time in India, Year 1605
- Myth 6: Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Second-Hand Smoke is Highly Hazardous
- Myth 7: Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Hazards Suggest Responsibility-to-Protect “Ethnic Communities”
- Myth 8: Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Is Not Kosher or Halal (is Haram) in Judaism and Islam
- Myth 9: Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Research is a Peacemaking Activity
- Myth 10: Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Smoking is Socially Incorrect
Tobacco smoking is injurious to health although not all forms of
smoking (cigarette, cigar, dry pipe, hookah, shisha, narghile, bidis,
moist snuff, etc.) entail the same risks. This point of utmost
importance has been highlighted in a long series of peer-reviewed
scientific publications .
In the wake of September 11, 2001, and for untold reasons, the
growingly popular hookah (narghile, shisha) was suddenly viewed as an
“Oriental” threat to the “West” (particularly the youth in the USA). For
one decade now, research on this form of smoking has been monopolised
by anti-smoking groups. The situation would have resulted somewhat normal
if, leaving aside the question of the usurped exclusivity of research,
these groups had not been funded, directly or indirectly (through
“public health”, cancer, lung, associations, the World Health
Organisation (WHO) and its satellites, etc.) by pharmaceutical companies
(abbreviated, for the sake of convenience, “Big Pharma”).
This industry is worldwide known for selling nicotine “replacement”
products (patches, gums, inhalers, etc.) and therapies, and also
medicines such as Bupropion, Chantix, etc. (interview on world tobacco policy (WTP)).
Big Pharma is traditionally presented as the rival of Big Tobacco (the
cigarette industry). However, for both, hookah has become an
embarrassing “Oriental” outsider (Ex-Knol online paper).
For being the pre-Columbian tobacco harm reduction technique, hookah
(shisha, narghile, etc.) has not posed any particular health problem for
centuries, as acknowledged by the greatest tobacco and cancer
researchers of the world before year 2002 .
Amazingly, it actually began to pose “problems” after that year (i.e.,
in the wake of Sep 11, 2011). The response to the question “Why after
year 2002” was addressed in previous publications (SciTopic on global epidemic).
As in international mobilisations against viruses (hookah was eventually described as a “global epidemic”)(SciTopic glob. epid.),
««waterpipe»» anti-smoking emergency centres were immediately set up
according to a classical containment strategy. A core research triangle
would connect Syria, Lebanon and Egypt and be directly monitored from
US-Headquarters located at Memphis University, Commonwealth University
(Virginia) and Georgetown University .
The first suspect point which immediately drew the interest of some observers was that the corresponding centres –- namely the US-“Syrian Centre for Tobacco Studies” (US-SCTS); the US-American University of Beirut centre (US-AUB) and the US-Egyptian centre
(US-ESPRI)-- were focussing their attention on ««waterpipe»» smoking and
not cigarette use. Yet, the prevalence of the latter in the
corresponding part of the Middle East is much more important... In this
respect, the logo of the US-SCTS is clear (image): it represents a
narghile bowl (as the symbol of the targeted practice) and not the
burning tip of a cigarette...
These centres have been continuously funded by such organisations as
the US Fogarty International Centre, the US National Institute of
Cancer, etc.) to up to $10 million: in particular $3 million for the US-AUB for ««waterpipe»» antismoking studies hyping the risks of hookah use.
They have produced the materials (dozens of
««waterpipe»»-labelled/coded publications) that were expected by the
other conduits of the chain: i.e. the mainstream media (BBC shisha madness story)
so that the latter can psychologically prepare (by stifling any
dissenting views and avoiding any open scientific debate) the broad
public to accept so-called bans on indoor or outdoor smoking prepared in
a further stage by legislators (Utah Clean Air Act & response)(ABC: Government Crack Down on Hookah Lounges).
The WHO flawed report on ""waterpipe"" smoking
Unfortunately for them, such an idealistic plan went wrong... In
spite of one decade of continuous vehement and sometimes violent
anti-hookah “public health” campaigns warning against the “global
epidemic” (SciTopic/glob. epid.) –with forceful slogans such as “1 hookah is equivalent to 100 cigarettes” (and sometimes 200, 400, 900...),
more and more people across the world (and in the “West” in particular)
have been indulging in hookah smoking... No self-critique or apology
was published, perhaps because the 100 cigarette-equivalence was claimed
to be supported by a WHO (World Health Organisation) “study” which
proved to be, not a “study” but a mere flawed report stained with a long
series of serious scientific errors. In particular, the two first
sentences of the reports contain a misquotation and an error ...
Nobody, inside the WHO or its satellites, suggested to clarify the
“100” figure until the truth came out and eventually became understood
and claimed by the public at large. Yet, the so round equivalence is
regularly recycled in the mainstream media for its known psychosocial
effects (repeating a lie one thousand times can make it a truth...).
Similar methods are used to prepare populations to accept totally
illegal wars as the most recent and widest one against the Libyan
Jamahiriya shows (e.g. Pr Charvin).
Interestingly, the series of lies in the ABC News story (by Thomas Eissenberg, chief author of the WHO flawed report ,
and chief investigator of the US-Syrian ««waterpipe»» anti-smoking
centre, on the one hand, and, on the other, by Jack Henningfield,
peer-reviewer of the WHO flawed report  and senior leader at Pinney Associates, a Big Pharma company) was published in June 2011 while Libya was the target of continuous bombing (Government crack down on hookah lounges).
Big Pharma funded anti-smoking events
The coming back hysteria about hookah smoking can be explained by the
unexpected delay in the implementation of the world agenda for banning
all forms of tobacco smoking. The delay is actually due to resistance
movements questioning the so-called scientific evidence justifying the
bans (e.g. Utah prohibition).
The global plan, designed within the WHO and Big Pharma cartels, poses
that mankind must head (ideally in the medium term) towards a “tobacco
free” world with not a single spot left on Earth for smoking (interview on WTP).
Another aspect of post-modern totalitarianism: the nightmare of "public health"
In these conditions, one can easily understand how the unexpected
re-emergence (from Africa, Asia and remote times, and not from any
modern communication or advertising agency in charge of designing
short-lived fashions or gadgets) of hookah smoking has become the “pet
hate”, “whipping boy” of the anti-smoking leagues (emanations, for many
of them, of the puritan sections inside the US society).
Furthermore, hookah is geo-“politically-incorrect”: either for
advocates of the New World Order or its so-called “opponents” (in
particular pseudo-“libertarians”) who are unconsciously defending the
same values. The reasons are many:
1-unlike cigarettes, hookah (because of its size) is
very ““visible”” and easily ““noticeable”” with its huge clouds of
Colonialism yesterday and peace pipe (Egypt)
2-hookah is not “white” as cigarettes and was even
viewed as a “legac[y] of colonialism”(sic) by the US-American University
of Beirut co-author of the WHO flawed report .
Given the history of Lebanon, the USA were this way cleaned since
“colonialism” could not be but... European. Therefore, here is a WHO
expert stating that European colonialism would be the cause of the
hookah global epidemic... This may be seen either as a mere joke or a
serious neo-orientalist blunder ...
3-Hookah has also been associated with... ““terrorism””... As a Saudi Arabian columnist rightly points out: (free transl. from Arabic: […] I
do not exclude the fact that one day a Western scientific or academic
section will publish a study showing that shisha smoking causes
Ja'far 'Abbas, Al-Watan (Arabia), 29 Sept 2003
rheumatism and even widens the ozone gap… More, I even suspect
that the Bush clan will eventually establish that that the tabamel
[moassel, the tobacco (or no-tobacco)-molasses based smoking mixture for
the hookah] contains terrorist genes and that the shisha, in the end,
is nothing more than a booby-trap pipe bomb... This would be the ideal
pretext for an invasion of Lebanon and Syria, known to be famous
producers of shishas and their accessories! .
Colonialism today and peace pipe (Iraq)
Consequently, perhaps people like State Senator Brian Boquist
(R-Dallas, USA) have understood the whole issue... This politico is said
to “teach soldiers bound for the Middle East that hookah smoking is a
ritual bringing together warring factions”(Statesman article, 26 Feb 2012).
4-From a political anthropology point of view,
hookah smokers seem to be very provocative while doing nothing than
sitting and chatting.... They actually give a very bad example in
today’s world: talking to each other instead of watching TV and
commercials, and drinking tea instead of getting liquored up. This is a
very libertarian attitude reminiscent of Karl Marx’ son-in-law, Paul
Lafargue, who wrote a book titled The Right to Laziness (orig. “Le Droit
à La Paresse”).
Bombing a wedding party in Al-Qaim (Syrian border), Iraq, May 2004
Hookah has indeed got a communistic libertarian dimension because the
alternative values it suggests are play, conversation and idleness. In
sum, hookah is also seen as a threat to the New World Order. Indeed,
through history, authoritarian governments in the Middle East used to
send police eavesdroppers to narghile cafes.
These times may come back again under other pretexts (a Patriot Act, for example)...
On the occasion of the 2012 release of a book scanning the full spectrum of the world hookah scene (brochure in English), we review below 10 great recent prevalent myths which emerged after September 9, 2011...
2012 release of the book (includes the full critique of the WHO flawed report)
Myth 1: Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) or ««Waterpipe»» Are Similar Objects
This is the one of the greatest frauds and fatal methodological
errors in the so-called research undertaken since 2002. It implies that
all water pipes of the world, in spite of their striking diversity,
produce the same smoke and induce the same health effects. The very
««waterpipe»» “notion” proved to be a confusionist neologism, actually
designed for a paradigmatic purpose, and also and above all a
nominalism. Lumping together all water pipes of the world (the Pakistani
or Indian hookah, the Tunisian or Libyan Shisha, the Egyptian Goza, the
Yemeni Mada’a or the Lebanese or Syrian Arghile and even the tiny
Chinese water pipes) under a same object and “concept” dubbed
««waterpipe»» (particularly in the form of the one-word neologism - but
this is also true for the dashed form) has resulted in a catastrophe for
research on tobacco smoking and a waste of millions of dollars... This
point has been highlighted in many peer-reviewed scientific articles.
Many researchers (including authors of “systematic reviews”) have
actually fallen in that epistemological trap .
Anyone typing ««waterpipe»» (in one word) at PubMed US central database
can get an idea of the related “production and its meaning (PubMed).
A sound approach to the study of smoking through water pipes in the
world entails a clear distinction between the different artefacts,
smoking products (moassel/tabamel, tumbak, jurak, etc.), smoking
behaviour, working temperatures, etc. Lazy unethical scientists do not
like complex objects so they squarely decide to short-circuit complexity
through the arbitrary use of a word like ««waterpipe»» supposed to
reflect a universal entity (reductionist attitude). Moreover, such an
entry cannot be found in any English, Urdu, Hebrew, Persian, Hindi,
Arabic, Turkish dictionary... This has represented the major bias in
research since 2002. As a result, many readers of this ««waterpipe»»
literature (most doctors of the world are naive in this respect) believe
that the findings of the corresponding studies are universal. This is a
great fraud. Further to our critiques, the faulty researchers are still
using the same word (in a clear intent to save their face) but
systematically note somewhere in their publications that ««waterpipe»»
covers hookah (shisha, narghile), as if it were a mere question of
vocabulary... It is not.
Myth 2: Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Scientific Research Started Off in 2002
“No research into hookah use existed before 2002,
according to Wasim Maziak, director of the Syrian Center for Tobacco
Studies in the Middle East. But his center alone has been involved in 50
scientific reports about argileh, the fruity, fragrant tobacco used in
Wasim Maziak, Head of US-SCTS, handling his "Quality" Awards from a Gulf State
This is an official blatant lie announced in the media by one of the main authors of the WHO flawed report (Detroit News, 14 Aug 2009). Research on hookah actually began at the dawn of the 17th
century (1622 to be exact). Although it has sometimes stayed dormant
over centuries (likely because there have not been “public health”
alerts in relation to hookahs...), it gave birth to the most valuable
independent (from both Big Pharma and Big Tobacco) studies from the
40ties onwards until the end of the 20th century. The 2002
date actually coincides with the inception of... the US-Syrian
««waterpipe»» antismoking centre; what the naive reader of the Detroit
News certainly ignored... These facts were clarified in a peer-reviewed
article and an online analysis (SciTopic/global epid.).
Myth 3: Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Does Not Filter Out Toxins and Equals 100 Cigarettes (at least)
This myth could actually be subdivided into 10 sub-myths as e.g.: “cigarette smoke and hookah smoke are chemically identical”(The Guardian);
“hookah smoke contains 36 times more “tar” than a cigarette”; “the
water does not filter out toxic chemicals”; “thermodynamic processes are
the same (tobacco is burnt as in cigarettes)”; etc. However, we will
limit ourselves to a broad review of cross-issues.
Dr Sanghvi, a renowned cancer specialist from India, early performed a
chemical analysis (tar, nicotine...) of hookah smoke and concluded that
“[the] results were comparable to those for some of the mildest
cigarettes on the world market and show the efficiency of water as a
filter”. The hookah water filtration rate
(that would be nearing zero according to the antismoking literature and
its media...) was officially established in 1991 by Saudi
pharmacologists and chemists in a pioneering English peer-reviewed
scientific publication which was dismissed, with many others, in the WHO
flawed report (actually prepared under US prohibitionist
pseudo-scientific guidance). The Middle East researchers found that the
shisha water-filtration average rate was 38% . This is for the role of water only since the hookah filtering effect is not limited to the liquid only as many believe .
it scientific to claim, in one way or another, that hookah smoke
contains the same 4,000 (in fact 5,000 have been identified so far)
The same scientists concluded that with only 142 compounds detected
in the smoke generated by a pipe filled with Jurak (a mixture of 15% of
tobacco leaves and 47% carbohydrates (glucose)), shisha smoke is
actually far less complex than cigarette smoke since around 5,000
substances have identified so far in the latter. This is obviously due
to the much lower temperatures to which the tobacco-molasses mixture
(moassel/tabamel) is subjected: actually hundreds of degrees below that
of cigarettes .
[GLYCEROL] Quite interestingly, and once again in
striking contrast with regular cigarettes, a great part (80% and more)
of hookah smoke (prepared with flavoured moassel) is made up of water
and glycerol (biologically inactive substances). All these hard facts explain why hookah smokers can puff more abundantly and for longer periods of time than cigarette users. The top tobacco experts who “peer-reviewed” the WHO flawed report , have finally acknowledged the above facts we have put forward in every occasion for almost one decade: “Only recently experts [not the ««waterpipe»» antismoking ones of course...]
have acknowledged that "WP [““waterpipe””] smoking is so different from
cigarette smoking that data on smoke composition and toxicity cannot be
extrapolated from one to the other”.
Then, apart from unethically sending to the bin key studies
(bibliographic bias, publication bias) and “sweeping under the carpet” a
lot of hard facts (scientific misconduct), there are two main tricks
««waterpipe»» antismoking researchers have been using in order to
deceive doctors and parents around the world.
-Trick 1. Toxicological comparisons are
systematically made between an average hookah smoking session (about one
hour, that is 60 minutes) with one-cigarette (consumed in about 5
minutes). The raw arithmetic is then sent this way to the mainstream
media. However, an important fact which is silenced on purpose is that
the common hookah user in the “West” smokes on average 2 to 3 pipes a
week (according to epidemiological antismoking studies)... so that the
inhalation of chemicals is also highly diluted.... by the time factor...
Even in the worst case (one hookah a day), the comparison with a
one-or-two pack(s) a day cigarette smoker would show that the latter is
dozens of times much more exposed to hazardous chemicals than the
said, even comparing on such biased bases, the mean blood nicotine
level among hookah smokers sitting for a 45 min session was found (by
««waterpipe»» antismoking researchers themselves) to be lower than among
cigarette users after having smoked a single cigarette (for about 5
min). After correction (pharmacokinetics model), nicotine exposure to
hookah smoke would be 1.7 times that of a single cigarette user . In sum, 1 hookah smoking session would expose the user to the nicotine equivalent of 1 to 2 cigarettes at the most ...
Furthermore, the example cited about nicotine is also relevant to the
analysis of many other toxic chemicals such as nitrosamines and
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. What makes ««waterpipe»» antismoking
researchers embarrassed is that even the biological markers of these
last products are generally found in very much lower quantities in
shisha users than among cigarette smokers and this, in their own
experiments and studies ...
smoking machine set with a 17s inter-puff time. Golden rule: the
greater the puffing frequency is, the higher the "tar" level. A 60 s or
120 s interval between two puffs would make this level drop several-fold
-Trick 2. The second trick is that the figures of
toxic substances advertised –and never questioned (censorship)- in the
mainstream media are those produced by a smoking machine supposed to
mimic human hookah smoking. One periodic puff is relentlessly drawn
every 17s over one full hour with all the methodological biases this
For instance, reducing (always ruled for clear reasons...), even for a
few minutes (therefore supposing a hookah smoker is not a robot and
stops puffing from time to time because talking with his fiancée, his
mother over the phone or drinking a cup of mint tea, ...) the time
between two machine-generated puffs, immediately translates into a
dramatic drop of tar content .
This is why all measurements of toxic emissions are always performed
at such an artificially high puffing frequency. There is a question we
are asking to all tobacco researchers of the world. Since the use of
cigarette-smoking machines (5 to 7 minutes only with one puff drawn every minute)
has been continuously criticised (from 1967 exactly to date) by the
most renowned tobacco scientists of the world, for distorting the
reality of human smoking, how come the recently designed hookah smoking
machine (based on a 17s inter-puff time; i.e. about 3 puffs per minute over one full hour, i.e. 60 min) has remained uncommented ?
The amazing silence has a clear explanation: fear. Biomedical
researchers are afraid of confronting a totalitarian system known to
silence dissenting views, stifling debate through direct interventions
on Editors-in-Chief, and imposing censorship. For researchers from Asia
and Africa, there is also the highly sensitive neo-orientalist aspects
of the issue .
The USA are involved in the funding of many Middle East research teams
and the reasons are not necessarily humanitarian, philanthropic or
related to the “public health” of the local populations as in the case
of the war on ««waterpipe»» smoking. Who, among the community of Middle
East researchers, would openly dare criticise such an institution as the
imperial US-American University of Beirut?
Evidence for the abuse of smoking machines in studies motivated by
political objectives (laws banning hookah smoking) is given, for
example, by a German team whose members have recently found levels of
benzo[a]pyrene (a powerful carcinogenous polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbon) 20 times lower than their colleagues of the US-American
Lebanese University. Yet, the experimental protocol in both studies was
based on the use of a shisha smoking machine set with the same
parameters (inter-puff time, notably).
A warning about “tar”. Comparing cigarette tar and
hookah tar (at least the way this has been done since 2002) is totally
unscientific. For long years, until our critiques became recognised as
it was barely stated in biomedical publications that both are
completely different from each other. However, and this is another
trick, the advertised figures for tar actually include a high proportion
of glycerol (among other humectants).
The inventors of the electronic cigarette (as well as of a previous
harm reduction cigarette named Eclipse), which have been introduced in
the world market over the last two decades, directly draw their
inspiration from the hookah system .
One example of the extremely different chemical composition is that
nitrosamines (which are perhaps the most hazardous compounds in tar),
are either absent or found in much lower quantities in hookah smoke (vs.
A warning about the charcoal. Another played down
fact of utmost importance (as far as public health consequences are
concerned) is that 90 to 95% of the toxicity of hookah smoke (not the
hyped one described in the cumulating pseudo-scientific literature and
scaremongering mainstream media) comes from the charcoal used to heat
the smoking mixture. This fact (the debunking per se of another myth) is a direct conclusion of the studies led by the early previously mentioned Saudi independent researchers .
In recent laboratory experiments involving the use of ICMS-MS
(Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer), we have measured the
concentrations of heavy metals (highly carcinogenic) in moassel pastes
and compared them with other tobacco or tobacco-derived products.
Results show that the heavy metals are much more abundant in cigarette
tobacco than in shisha moassel. We have therefore confirmed previous
results by the same above-mentioned Saudi researcher .
Consequently, heavy metals very likely come from the charcoal (and/or
the metal covering of the pipe) as we emphasised one decade ago. From
there, the early design of a harm reduction charcoal-free (electric or
gas powered) was the most relevant response to public health concerns .
Instead of educating people on how not to misuse charcoal in order to
avoid carbon monoxide intoxications (as with barbecues), WHO anti
««waterpipe»» researchers have, for one decade, literally censored any
statement mentioning the need for a proper ventilation (i.e. harm
reduction). They have focussed on eradication-only take home messages:
Quit right now! More than scientific misconduct, this actually qualifies
for a public health crime.
All the above-mentioned censored hard facts translate into health
effects; first of all according to the “the dose is the poison” medical
principle. The greater the number of toxic chemicals is, the greater the
negative effect on health. For instance hookah smoke cytotoxicity
(toxicity of smoke on cells) has been studied over the past decades by
independent (from Big Pharma and Big Tobacco) researchers .
The same goes for cancer with the first aetiological studies carried
out by Pakistanis doctors on heavy hookah users who have been smoking,
for decades, huge amounts of tobacco .
To close this chapter, let us point out that hookah smoke is far from
being pure air. So, users (always preferred as recreational) should
take care with the charcoal since the levels of inhaled carbon monoxide
generally measured among hookah smokers are higher than among cigarette
PS: please consider the recent ludicrous
pseudo-scientific Byzantine discussion on a “prestigious” medical forum.
It involved proponents of a mere-arithmetic “100-cigarette” equivalent
and “revisionists” drawing a not less anti-scientific “10-cigarette”
parallel (Royal College/British Journal of General Practice)(comments
dated 09 Feb & 23 Apr 2012). The reader will appreciate how, thanks
to smart language (British English...) known for its understatement
characteristics and “moderation” rules, scientific blunders as big as “1
hookah equals 100 cigarettes” (and now 10 cigarettes) are laundered and
piped into the so-called “peer-reviewed” biomedical press.
Myth 4: Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Smoking Causes “Nicotine Addiction”
First of all, it must be clear that nicotine is not carcinogenous and
absolutely not the most dangerous toxic chemical in tobacco smoke. This
clarification is of utmost importance because one can regularly read in
the mainstream media pseudo-scientific statements like: “hookah users
believe their hookah is less dangerous than cigarette smoking because
the nicotine content is lower” or the “fact” that “hookah smoking may result in higher nicotine intake”.
As far as tabamel/moassel (i.e. the world growingly popular flavoured
tobacco-molasses smoking mixture) is concerned, the myth that hookah is
addictive is the most ludicrous one for two main reasons:
1. First, we have seen when debunking Myth 3 that hookah users
sitting for a one hour session would not get more nicotine in their
blood than the smokers of one (two at the most) cigarette(s), consumed
each, for memory, in about 5 minutes . So, the question is: how “these people”, smoking on average 2 to 3 times a week, will get “hooked on hookah nicotine”?
Second, nicotine is not exclusively responsible for the addiction
phenomenon in general so that phrases like “nicotine addiction” or
“nicotine dependence” are, from the outset, unscientific although they
can be found in most of the antismoking literature of the last decades.
Even the designer of the main tool to assess tobacco addiction (the
so-called “Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence”, used as a reference
all over the world) has recently admitted he was led astray: "By
changing the title of his famous and universal test known until recently
as "dependence to nicotine" to "dependence to cigarettes", Karl
Fagerström recognizes that nicotine dependence does not sum up one’s
dependence to tobacco. This article should have the effect of a bomb.
However, one can assume that it will not be echoed anywhere and this in
spite of the author’s notoriety"(recapitulation by French top tobacco authority).
In one study only, carried out by the US-Egyptian team, one can read
that “waterpipe smokers exhibit many of the same features of nicotine
dependency attributed to cigarette smokers”.
One interesting detail about the preparation and set up in this country
is that the participants in the study had been smoking for 20 years or
so and their “average daily consumption was 4 ± 8 hagars (tobacco
With such a dramatic consumption over a so long period of time, it
seems natural that the corresponding individuals may display some signs
of dependence in the long term, doesn’t it? Furthermore, the exact
profile of participants (ex-cigarette smokers having more or less
recently switched to shisha or goza smoking; exclusive shisha smokers,
mixed smokers, etc.), the type of pipes, charcoal, etc., is always
surrounded by a great confusion...
As another example of global confusion, the objective of a recent
study by the US-Syrian ««waterpipe»» antismoking team was “to examine
the relative effectiveness of cigarettes and ««waterpipe»» in reducing
tobacco abstinence symptoms in dual cigarette/««waterpipe»» smokers“.
Its findings would show “the ability of ««waterpipe»» to suppress
abstinence effects comparably to cigarettes and its potential to thwart
Here, few observant readers will have paid attention to the epithet
“dual”. What is the point of studying ««waterpipe»» “addiction” among
non-hookah exclusive smokers? A relevant methodological example to
meditate upon is the Pakistani study on hookah smoking and cancer which
showed clearly different symptoms (and a dose-response effect) between
dual cigarette-hookah and hookah-only smokers .
Most of these biased studies have a first objective: trying to
“demonstrate” the “gateway hypothesis” (smoking hookah would lead to
cigarette smoking) even if, for many reasons (biological, psychological,
social, cultural, etc.), no data supports it as, leaving aside
anthropological studies, an Australian independent epidemiological study
involving an important panel of participants showed .
The strong focus on addiction (see how many stories in the popular
press appear with such headlines as “hooked on hookah”) is motivated by a
political reason (prohibition agenda) but also an economic one:
offering medical “alternatives” produced by the pharmaceutical companies
(nicotine patches, etc.). In these conditions, the emergence of
(online) services such as Njquitline or Quitshisha (among others) is no
surprise... The right question here is: who funds them and who funds the
studies on hookah “addiction”? Correlatively, why does a journal like
Nicotine and Tobacco Research keep on hammering that “««waterpipes»»
are addictive, too”? Why does Jack Henningfield, peer-reviewer of the WHO flawed report , insist in a so pathetic way if he were not senior leader at a Big Pharma company (Pinney Associates)(ABC News, 01 Jun 2011)?
The bottom line is that as far as hookah (prepared with flavoured
moassel) is concerned, “nicotine addiction” is a fraud. This complex
issue was tackled in a relevant online interview (see also: SciTopic glob. epid.). Finally, this is also in agreement with laymen’s and anthropological observations: « Le
but n'est pas de fumer pour satisfaire une dépendance ou calmer une
anxiété mais de prendre le temps pour parler, s'écouter et partager, à
tour de rôle, en se tendant fraternellement, rituellement et
symboliquement le tuyau d'aspiration. Toute la mise en scène ne serait
que prétexte à l’émergence d’une « situation » au sens sociologique du
terme (Erving Goffman) mais aussi ludique (Johan Huizinga), artistique
et libertaire (Guy Debord)».
Myth 5: Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Appeared for the First Time in India, Year 1605
Early African water pipe (antelope horn)
“Official” History serves political objectives as this happens every
time conquerors impose their interpretation of events and leave it
unquestionable for long periods of time (by having recourse to new laws
if necessary). The WHO flawed report begins with a misquotation and an
error... related to the origins of the hookah whereby its authors
endeavoured to “fix” it in India, year 1605 .
The authors quote an anecdote according to which a physician to the
Indian Court would have invented a way to make tobacco less harmful to
the Emperor by making its smoke pass through water. The direct inference
of the WHO report –frequently echoed in the mainstream media- is that
the “myth of the harmless hookah” would be “as old as its invention”.
The objectives are threefold:
1. The trickily timed (1605) anecdote is used in a political way as
in Myth 2 about the “official” date (2002) for the inception of research
on hookah smoking (i.e. ««waterpipe»» antismoking publications). Year Zero, Ground Zero...
2. The dismissal of a great amount of scientific evidence, showing
that hookah smoking is a tobacco harm reduction technique, would
therefore be “justified”;
3. Hookah users are persuaded that what they have been intimately
experimenting (particularly the sensory difference between cigarette
smoke and hookah smoke) is mere Maya (illusion). For this reason, the
debunking of Myth 3 (about the filtering effect of hookah) was
Shirazi, the first ever poem on smoking. It is Iranian and it is a poem of love...
Fortunately, archaeological, anthropological and literary independent research shows that hookah has even a more remote origin ; perhaps going thousands of years back .
In particular, the first poem on smoking was written as early as 1535.
It is Iranian and it is a poem of love in which its author, Shirazi, is
ravished by the scene of her beloved smoking the Qalyan (one of the
local Iranian water pipes) :
“Your Lips Make Qalyân Draw Enjoyment.
Its Mouthpiece Becomes Like a Sweet.
This Is Not Smoke Around Your Face.
But a Cloud Whirling Around the Moon...”
Myth 6: Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Second-Hand Smoke is Highly Hazardous
Official fake poster of the French antismoking campaign
The issue behind this myth is the last stronghold of antismoking
researchers and Big Pharma lobbies within the WHO. Since they have not
found any sufficient levels of toxic substances in hookah mainstream
smoke (the one absorbed by the smoker) to justify all-out bans, they
have raised, as in fake social “revolutions”, the “Responsability to
Protect” civilians... non-smoking civilians... from hookah smoke (interview).
Unfortunately for them (and “paradoxically” for some), hookah, unlike
cigarettes, does generate almost no side-stream smoke (the most toxic
one in cigarette because it is hot and not filtered by the smoker’s
lungs). In view of this new peculiarity, antismoking groups have
virtually invented hookah side-stream smoke. An official campaign in
France (World No Tobacco Day 2006), approved by the Ministry of Health
featured a hookah emitting huge clouds of smoke. This is an official
scientific hoax on which 99% of tobacco researchers of the world kept
silent by fear of retaliation should they speak out.
sidestream smoke is chemically different (hotter and more toxic) from
mainstream smoke (filtered by the smoker's lungs). By comparison hookah
(narghile, shisha) generates almost no side-stream smoke
A detailed analysis of the potential hazards related to hookah
side-stream smoke hazards was published in a peer-reviewed scientific
Antismoking activists within Globalink (of which the heads of the
US-Syrian, US-Lebanese and US-Egyptian ««waterpipe»» antismoking centres
are members of (Ex-Knol online paper),
have actually pressured the journal in an intent to block the
publication. However, the Editor-in-Chief saw that its scientific merit
was unquestionable and maintained his previously taken decision to
publish it .
Immediately, the $3 million funded US-American University of Beirut
team prepared a biased study in response to a so-called
“controversy”(sic) whose authors were never named (i.e. we)... Thanks to
a biased setup of the pipe, the production of toxic substances
supposedly due to hookah side-stream smoke was artificially blown up .
In our turn, we prepared a response exposing the methodological
tricks. It was sent to the corresponding journal (Atmospheric
Environment). We still believed corruption had not reached the latter.
We were deceived as in another case involving the same US-American
University of Beirut team whose members have actually lied to the
Editor-in-Chief of the Inhalation Toxicology journal in order to make
him change his mind after he had thoughtfully and independently taken a
positive decision regarding a manuscript of ours (details).
The possibility of a sound scientific debate was therefore stifled and
we eventually published our detailed response in the Libyan Journal of
Medicine, an independent peer-rewiewed medical journal indexed with
By choosing such a journal (before the war against the Libyan
Jamahiriya), we were assured that our dissenting views would not be
censored by the US prohibitionists now in total(itarian) ideological
control of most scientific journals of the world when it comes to
tobacco issues in general and, more sensitively, hookah in particular.
Eventually, we realised that the above-mentioned Atmospheric
Environment journal (which published the biased study on hookah
side-stream smoke and whose pressured Editors rejected with no
scientific explanation our critiques), was actually hosted by the same
institution (University of East-Anglia) involved in the Climate Change
scandal dubbed “Climategate”. Considering that the surprising unethical
practices (censoring of dissenting views clearly reflected in official
emails hacked by activists) were exactly the same we faced, we decided
not to waste time in sterile diplomatic discussions with liars and
publish “for History” and “future generations” an online modest paper
titled “Waterpipegate & Climategate” (Ex-Knol online paper).
theory (and based on imported pseudo-science from the US), this man
could be fined: not for reading the Ath-Thawra newspaper (meaning
“Revolution”..., the nationalist historic movement, not the ““Arab
Spring”” imported thing...) but for smoking indoors. Please note,
however, how well ventilated are Middle East cafes...
As we said somewhere, tobacco being injurious for health, the Syrian
government was certainly right to recently ban smoking in certain public
places. The corresponding decree was relevant in many instances (taxis,
public transportation, shared offices, etc.). However, and because it
was directly inspired by the US-SCTS ««waterpipe»» antismoking centre,
it did not distinguish, on purpose, between non-ventilated, poorly and
well-ventilated public areas (Ex-Knol online paper).
The case of Syrian coffee houses, as described in anthropological
accounts, was therefore a striking example for the inconsistency of the
ban and posed the question of the scientific integrity of the data
provided by the Globalink US-Syrian activists who touted it .
More, during their briefing by antismoking activists, the Syrian
authorities were provided with data on “working examples” from the
world. As in many other cases, the operation had been a mere importation
of so-called “Western” “evidence” justifying an immediate ban in public
hospitalities. As far as Europe is concerned, not only the French ban
on hookah smoking was, from the outset, a scientific fraud but, on a
wider continental level, it was also based on a manipulation of official
statistics (debunking critique by French top tobacco authority).
If the Syrian decree has now been “alleviated” and is more
“tolerant”, it is a good thing for the preservation of the social,
cultural, economical and even political tissue of Syria, particularly
against the background of threats against its territorial integrity and
independence. As for the Lebanese ban, it is a good example of US
interventionism in the name of a supranational convention (FCTC:
Framework Convention on Tobacco Control) itself a product of the
prohibition proponents (Ex-Knol online paper)...
Based on their own anthropological medical findings, Iranians have
realised that a ban on their local water pipes was contrary to common
sense; hence, their repeated U-Turn decisions to lift previous bans (article).
Or, perhaps, thanks to some mysterious “domino effect”, Iran public
health authorities have decided to adopt the tolerance displayed by the
Syrian government. This is even more promising that the world has seen a
lot of ««waterpipe»» antismoking research led in Iran over the past few
years -and directly inspired by the US example (Ex-Knol online paper).
Finally, we should also mention a German unethical study in which
human guinea pigs were actually smoked out by the researchers. This
dangerous, unrealistic and biased experiment was debunked in time .
Myth 7: Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Hazards Suggest Responsibility-to-Protect “Ethnic Communities”
In 2007, ASH (Action on Smoking & Health) led an interview with
the heads of the three US ««waterpipe»» antismoking centres in the
Middle East (Lebanon, Egypt, Syria) in their capacity as authors of the
WHO flawed report .
The objective was to get their supposedly “authoritative” support for a
planned ban in the United Kingdom (targeting in particular the numerous
shisha lounges there). Although none of the invited researchers was
living, working or native of that country, their message was clear:
“excluding “shisha bars” when England goes smokefree on July 1 could
worsen the grave inequalities in health that already affect ethnic
Such a “disinterested” invitation was bluntly rejected by the owners
of shisha lounges who resisted assaults on their liberties and business.
Interestingly, they have not seen a worsening of “the grave
inequalities in health “due to their activity... in spite of what the
BBC reported a few years later: “In March, the BBC published a news
story claiming that GPs in Leicester "are seeing an increase in
teenagers with health problems linked to shisha pipe smoking". But
Leicester PCT [Primary Care Centre] now says the story was erroneous;
while it maintains the number of teenagers in the city smoking shisha is
on the rise, it says GPs have not confirmed an increase in treating
patients with health problems caused directly by shisha.” (The Guardian).
The BBC never apologised, as most mainstream media (Al-Jazeera, etc.)
do, believing that they are not answerable for what they publish and
that they stand above all ethics and laws (interview).
It does not matter if the 100 (sometimes rising two-fold and even
nine-fold)-cigarette equivalent comparison –that many hookah users of
the world may have read or heard somewhere, is antiscientific or not
because its very function was to psychologically prepare the “opinion”
at large to accept assaults on civil liberties in the name of the
“protection” of innocents (ABC News: Government Crack Down).
Here, the “innocents” are either the poor “ethnic minorities” for whom
the WHO ««waterpipe»» antismoking experts have been weeping on or the
non–smoking civilian populations inside the Oriental hookah lounges...
Let us note here that antismoking media advocates systematically discard
the argument that such places are actually patronised by people who
wilfully decide to frequent them for the only purpose of smoking
An interesting parallel is that the 6,000 (victims) figure (used
during the last war against the Libyan Jamahiriya) was also the same as
the one (deaths purportedly due to "passive smoking") used in an
official report of the European Commission to justify bans on cafes on a
continental scale. As said previously, the statistics had been twisted
for this purpose (interview).
Finally, it is worth pointing out that in view of the “unexpected”
“stubborn” facts related to hookah (efficient filtering of tobacco
smoke, recreational use, no significant side-stream smoke, no addiction,
etc.), ««waterpipe»» antismoking activists have even raised the
question of smell... Apparently, they wish to ““regulate”” (this word is
more and more frequent in the pouring literature and is actually a “fig
leaf” for “prohibition”) smell but is this very rational? Furthermore,
as “tobacco control” activists, does the “regulation of either charcoal
(used for heating the hookah) or “smell” logically fall within their
Myth 8: Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Is Not Kosher (Haram) in Judaism and Islam
Divine commandment: Seek (good sound) science from the cradle to the crave...
Some Muslim observers have objected that fatwas banning the use of
hookah have been issued in the recent past. Certainly though few people
know how these religious rulings were taken. Quickly said, the
corresponding scholars have been briefed by pseudo-scientific reports
and took their decisions in violation of the Prophet’s commandment that
the true believer should seek science from the cradle to the grave
(Utlubu ‘l-‘ilma min al-mahdi ila-l lahdi). Of course, it could not be
“bad science” but “good science”, i.e. unbiased solid science (SciTopic on Hookah Mystique).
The direct epistemological consequence is that researchers
(particularly those working on Muslim societies) should just stick to
this simple universal precept. Even atheist researchers will accept such
an invitation because it is as obvious as logical. Therefore, the
central question is: why research on tobacco smoking should appear as an
exception to this principle; because a handful of “Western”
millenarists would have transformed “tobacco control” into a religious
movement (online article)?
Religious leaders, and particularly authors of fatwas, have obviously
been duped by tobacco prohibition activists seeking moral support and
“guarantee” (here the one, so important, of Islam) for their global
agenda of a “tobacco free world”. A parallel with the recent war against
the Libyan Jamahiriya shows how a fatwa was also issued by a so-called
sheikh on Al-Jazeera Channel. The process was exactly the same. The man
aired a criminal fatwa which was supported, not by official reports from
independent international commissions or organisations but media news
and particularly Al-Jazeera’s ones...
Islam does not “forbid” behaviours if there is no solid evidence
suggesting the need for interference or ruling. As a consequence, hookah
smoking is not haram . Furthermore, one famous verse of the Holy Quran is Let There Be No Compulsion in Religion (« Lâ ′ikrâha fî-d-dîn »)(
II, 255). Islam is a so tolerant religion that Western “tobacco
control” activists are puzzled when considering how their campaigns are
difficult to implement in the corresponding countries. An historic
example of this tolerance is given by Sinan Mimar, the great Ottoman
architect of the 16th century, who used to smoke the narghile
inside the magnificent mosques he was building. When asked, one day, by
the Sultan why he was doing this, he said that he was testing the holy
buildings for their acoustic quality thanks to the typical bubbling
sound emitted by the pipe...
Finally, another related myth is that the Prophet of Islam would be a hookah smoker ...
A response to what was in fact a xenophobic joke however published in
the “prestigious” British Medical Journal..., was censored, with no
given reason by the Editors. Once again, such an incident exemplifies
aspects of the unsuspected totalitarianism the hookah issue exposes
every day (Ex-Knol online article).
Myth 9: Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Research is a Peacemaking Activity
Periodic hysteria in the media and all-out attacks based on
pseudo-scientific studies have actually fuelled a great deal of
xenophobia in the world. This is very easy to understand when
considering the conclusions the targeted average (wo)man in the street :
-“Their” fathers teach “their” children how to smoke the hookah (WHO flawed report on ««waterpipe»» smoking). This led a Globalink activist 
in Switzerland to stress that numerous parents in that country
(obviously immigrants and likely from the “Great Middle East”) allow
their children, sometimes aged less than 12 years, to gather at home and
smoke hookah in group (Original: « […] de nombreux parents, […] parfois
de très jeunes adolescents de 12 ans ou moins […] dans le logement
familial […]”(On “Denialism”).
A common female smoker in Iran
-Many ludicrous statements have also been published about women. In the WHO flawed report in particular ,
and in a great span of the antismoking literature in general, one can
read that hookah smoking is a male activity. The reverse is true. In
countries such as Iran, Yemen, Lebanon and others, women are even known
to smoke hookah more than men...
Neo-orientalism. Headline reads: "Moslem World - Women Do Assert Themselves...
"Most recently, a team from the US-American University of Beirut has
prepared a pseudo-anthropological publication portraying, by some
aspects, Arab hookah smoking women as whores... The naively
neo-orientalist idea is that this could represent a way to deter them
from such an activity... A few years ago, a neo-orientalist journal
named Le Courrier International published a front page depicting a
fabricated early ““Arab Spring””-like photograph selling the
“liberation” of Arab women thanks to cigarettes. Once again, and on one
hand, how was cigarette dependence going to liberate anybody? On the
other, all sociological studies show that more and more Arab women have
found in shisha smoking (therefore, a traditional habit) a way chill out
-“They” pollute the "West" with these huge amounts of highly toxic smoke ...
-Recycling the WHO flawed report in an interview with the
Editor-in-Chief of the Addiction journal (UK), a health facility
recently stated that « even without the support of science, WHO has come to the conclusion that hookah, in general, is more dangerous than smoking cigarettes” (Riordan Clinic)...What does this mean ?
-In the greatest world fraud in tobacco research, the Head of the
Office Français du Tabagisme (OFT) even revealed anthropometric
pseudo-scientific “findings” about smokers in the Arab world. The latter
would not be “equipped" with the same lungs as in Europe ...
Myth 10: Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Smoking Is Socially Incorrect
theory, these peaceful people could have been fined for not abiding by
the nationwide smoking ban in France... (decree dated 02 Jan 2008). From
the revue des buralistes (28 Jan 2008).
Instead of studying the ethnography of talk during a hookah session
(something seen as “magic” for many users), and thus considering the
overall potential benefits in terms of social cohesion ,
««waterpipe»» antismoking researchers have, for one decade now, warning
against that devilish suction hose which, going from mouth to mouth,
would catalyse the spread of tuberculosis... Fans of “clash of
civilisations” theories actually hate the hookah because more and more
people around the world (and US teenagers in particular), are
discovering in their own lands social virtues their fathers have lost.
These can be summarised by three examples from Iran, the Libyan
Jamahiriya and Syria:
-an early report from Iran, by the National Geographic Magazine (1921): «[...]
The tea-house is the democratic Persian’s political and social club, a
splendid institution for which we have no adequate equivalent in America
... anything from an adobe hut with a few crude benches to the
glorified cafés... it always possesses those unfailing essentials, a big
brass Russian samovar, an adequate collection of little tea-glasses,
bright-colored saucers, and filigree spoons, a bubbling hubble-bubble or
two for public use, and a genial atmosphere of camaraderie [...]» .
memories. Tripoli, Libyan Jamahiriya, with love... A traditional cafe.
Note: the flag at half-mast, stuck into the spout of the standing hookah
(instead of the suction hose), was of green colour if our memory is not
letting us down...
-a more recent report from Tripoli, Libyan Jamahiriya, Green Square 1992: “At
night fall, a walk around the part of the capital awash in the orange
glow of magnificent street lamps, was a constant temptation to linger
awhile in a good-natured atmosphere. Under tall palm trees, right in the
middle of a colourful crowd of young men and women, of whole families
and old men, the waiters of an open air restaurant could be seen rushing
between the crowded tables and the kitchen. After the meal, those who
ordered a hookah that was already set up at their table would be
provided with a kursy (pipe bowl, in clay or in metal, depending on
whether the hookah was an arguila or a shisha) full of apple-flavoured
mo'essel (tobacco aromatised with molasses). Sometimes, the waiter would
alternate this with the distribution of new live embers for burning the
tobacco [...]”(Universita del Mediterraneo, Rome, 1997, n° 5).
-A poem inspired by a garden scene in Aleppo, Syria (Lamartine, 1832) :
Palestine. The open-air city-wide jail. Shisha smokers there mocking
unscientific imported "public health” warnings, say: “We will more
likely die in an Israeli raid!...”
« Quand, ta main approchant de tes lèvres mi-closes
Le tuyau de jasmin vêtu d’or effilé,
Ta bouche, en aspirant le doux parfum des roses,
Fait murmurer l’eau tiède au fond du narguilé; [...]
De mon cœur attiédi la harpe est seule aimée.
Mais combien à seize ans j’aurais donné de vers
Pour un de ces flocons d’odorante fumée
Que ta lèvre distraite exhale dans les airs [...] »
research can be led just as wars are waged today. The debunking of the
ten above myths also provides evidence (symbolic evidence here) for the
“clash of civilisations” fallacy. Big Pharma (quit smoking aids) and Big
Tobacco (cigarettes) share a common interest in getting rid of
recreational non-addictive popular tobacco use methods, particularly
when they come from Asia and Africa. The key points to consider in
order to understand the recent global “public health” hysteria about
hookah (narghile, shisha) smoking and what is at stake behind, can take
the form of the following questions:
-Who funds whom? For instance, while it is clear for
many observers why and how Big Pharma funds antismoking studies, it is
less common and perhaps paradoxical to admit that ««waterpipe»»
antismoking teams (the US-American University of Beirut, chiefly, but
also the US-Syrian team) have received undisclosed funding from... the
Tobacco Industry itself...
Hookah users will immediately understand the motives. Because of the
absence of addiction (see Myth 4), hookah is seen, in the new global
market, as a competitor from Asia and Africa (Ex-Knol online paper). When tipped, a tobacco control researcher at Boston University has reacted to this scandal in an article titled: “Six Articles on Health Effects of Hookah Use Fail to Mention that Research Sponsor Was Directed by a Tobacco Industry Executive”.
Indeed, the number (though underestimated) is high and no apology was
issued because these people (just as conquerors in today’s totalitarian
wars) believe they are above ethics and laws.
The recipient of the financial support from the “generous”
“unexpected” sponsor is described in an official document from the
US-American University of Beirut. One can see that from an early date,
the plan was to “translate” “research” findings into world
prohibitionist “policy”. One can also read how the WHO flawed report 
aimed to be “against narghile smoking”(sic) and how the chairman of the
Study Group within WHO to be appointed for that cause was selected from
the US-American University of Beirut itself... In other words, the main
co-author of the WHO flawed report (Alan Shihadeh) was the colleague of
that chairman (Ghazi Zaatari) from the same US-American University of
Beirut... Is this an “Oriental” exception or a democratic model for the
preparation of all reports within the World Health Organisation and
similar UN agencies?
"The AUB-TCRG was established informally in 1999 through a grant
from the International Development Research Center-Research for
International Tobacco Control (IDRC-RITC)."
to “generous” funding, the “untouchable” (*) US-American University of
Beirut has been the spearhead of the ««waterpipe»» antismoking global
hysteria. However, some researchers dared “touch” it to expose how its
so-called scientific activities in relation with a commonplace material
artefact are on the same wavelength as those of the “Great Middle
East”project. (*)note: "untouchable" perhaps because some high-ranking
officials in Lebanon, Syria and even Iran have studied there...
"The AUB TCRG’s portfolio speaks for itself in terms of research
methods and results. The focus on the narghile as a type of tobacco
consumption has provided a niche of expertise. The impact of this
expertise is evident through the publication of an IDRC monograph on
results of the epidemiologic research, significant contribution of the
research to the WHO advisory Note against narghile smoking, active participation of members of the group in the second and third WHO FCTC Conference of Parties meeting, and the appointment of a member of the group as the Chairman of the Study Group on Tobacco Product Regulation (TobReg) of the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative."(source)(alternate link)
-Why studies with negative results (i.e. unexpected results for
««waterpipe»» antismoking activists) led in Asia and Africa and
published in English in peer-reviewed journals have been officially
-Why are research centres in charge of fighting the world
««waterpipe»» “global epidemic” all funded by US sources and managed
from the USA?
-Why has there been, for so long, such an amazing consensus of ""all"" researchers and media of the world ?
-Why, in all mainstream media stories, the interviewed experts always
belong to the same camp (for instance the Globalink family as in the
ABC News story (Government Crack Down)(Ex-Knol online paper))?
Then, why are their “hard facts” and so-called “findings” of
“scientific” “research” systematically balanced with the opinion of the
(wo)man in the street (always a hookah lounge owner or patron...), never
with the views of another expert opposing the official myths about
-Indeed, what is wrong with this kind of "research"? Whom are they at war with?
In any case, the public health bottom line message is that findings
from scientific research over four centuries show that hookah (shisha,
narghile) smoke is much less toxic than cigarette smoke. If you are a
(regular) smoker of this kind of pipe, beware of how you use the
charcoal however (as you would do with a barbecue). Keep in mind that if
hookah is less harmful, this does not mean that it is harmless (antismoking researchers do not distinguish on purpose, between these two notions).
(academic/peer-reviewed, except: 7, 13, 17, 18, 46):
 Sajid KM, Chaouachi K, Mahmood R. Hookah smoking and cancer.
Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) levels in exclusive/ever hookah smokers.
Harm Reduct J 2008 24 May;5(19). Doi:10.1186/1477-7517-5-19
 Chaouachi K. Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Smoking and Environmental
Tobacco Smoke (ETS). A Critical Review of the Relevant Literature and
the Public Health Consequences. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health
 Chaouachi K, Sajid KM. A critique of recent hypotheses on oral
(and lung) cancer induced by water pipe (hookah, shisha, narghile)
tobacco smoking. Med Hypotheses 2009 (online: 24 Dec).
 Chaouachi K. Prevention and sporadic carbon monoxide poisoning
related to shisha (hookah, narghile) tobacco smoking. J Emerg Med. 2010
(Feb 2)[Epub ahead of print] . doi:10.1016/j.jemermed.2009.11.027 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jemermed.2009.11.027
 Maziak W. The Global Epidemic of Waterpipe Smoking. Addictive Behaviors 2010 (August)
 Chaouachi K. Hookah (narghile, shisha). An Epidemic from Egypt ?
[Le narguilé (chicha, hookah) : une épidémie venue d’Egypte ?]. In:
Figures de la santé. Passé, présent, avenir. CEDEJ (Centre d’études et
de documentation économiques, juridiques et sociales)/CNRS, Le Caire
(Egypte), 2007, pages 247-267.
 ASH (Action on Smoking and Health). ““Shisha 200 times worse than
a cigarette” say Middle East experts””. 27 March 2007 (prepared by
Martin Dockrell)(accessed 13 June, 2008) [based, among others, on an
interview with Wasim Maziak and Alan Shihadeh, respectively heads of the
US-“Syrian Centre for Tobacco Studies” and US-American University of Beirut centre]
Sub-heading: “Three leading experts from across the Middle East have
warned that excluding “shisha bars” when England goes smokefree on July 1
could worsen the grave inequalities in health that already affect
 Chaouachi K. A Critique of the WHO's TobReg "Advisory
Note" entitled: "Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking: Health Effects, Research
Needs and Recommended Actions by Regulators. Journal of
Negative Results in Biomedicine 2006 (17 Nov); 5:17.
Doi:10.1186/1477-5751-5-17 [The WHO report was prepared by Alan Shihadeh
(US-American University of Beirut), Thomas Eissenberg (US-“Syrian
Centre for Tobacco Studies”) and Wasim Maziak (idem) and requested and
peer-reviewed by (chiefly): Jack Henningfield (senior leader at Pinney
Associates, pharmaceutical company) and Ghazi Zaatari (US-American
University of Beirut)]
 Chapman S. Global perspective on tobacco control. Part II. The
future of tobacco control: making smoking history? Int J Tuberc Lung
Dis. 2008 Jan;12(1):8-12.
 Ben Youdan. Smokefree parks in New Zealand: an important step
towards the goal of a smokefree New Zealand in 2020. Journal of the New
Zealand Medical Association, 29-January-2010, Vol 123 No 1308.
 Saïd Edward : L’orientalisme: L’Orient créé par l’Occident (orig. : Orientalism, 1978), trad. fr. par Catherine Malamud), Paris, Seuil, 1980. See also Culture and Imperialism, Vintage Books, 1994 and speech at York University (Toronto, 10 Feb 1993)
 Chaouachi K. [Material Culture and Orientalism. The Example of a
Socio-Anthropological Research on Narghile]. Arabica 2006, LIII;2:
177-209 [Published by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands]
 Ja‘far ‘Abbâs, “’Ahîran gazawnâhum”, Al-Watan (Arabia), 29 Sept 2003. Cited, pp. 187-8 in “Tout savoir sur le narguilé”
 Chaouachi K : Tout savoir sur le narguilé. Société, culture,
histoire et santé [Eng.: Everything about Hookahs. Society, Culture,
Origins and Health Aspects]. Paris, L’Harmattan, mai 2012, 256 pages,
colour. ISBN : 978-2-296-96620-8. New edition; inlcudes Includes the
full critique of the WHO flawed report.
 Raad D, Gaddam S, Schunemann HJ, Irani J, Abou Jaoude P, Honeine
R, Akl EA. Effects of waterpipe tobacco smoking on lung function: a
systematic review and meta-analysis. Chest. published 29 July 2010. Doi:
 Chaouachi K. More Rigor Needed in Systematic Reviews on
“Waterpipe” (Hookah, Narghile, Shisha) Smoking. Chest May 2011 139:5
 Kozlowski, Kim. Michigan health leaders target growing hookah use. The Detroit News 2009 (Friday, Aug 14)
http://detnews.com/article/20090814/LIFESTYLE03/908140351/1409/METRO/Mich.-health-leaders-target-growing-hookah-use (original link now broken; alternate link: http://tinyurl.com/cnrt8x3)
 The Guardian. Smoking shisha: how bad is it for you? It is
growing in popularity but some experts say a single shisha session is
the same as smoking 200 cigarettes. By Huma Qureshi, 22 Aug 2011
 Sanghvi LD. Cancer epidemiology: the Indian scene. Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology 1981; 99: 1-14.
 Djordjevic MV, Doran KA 2009. Nicotine content and delivery across tobacco products. Handb Exp Pharmacol (192):61-82
 Eissenberg T, Shihadeh A. Waterpipe tobacco and cigarette
smoking direct comparison of toxicant exposure. Am J Prev Med. 2009
 Chaouachi K. Hookah (shisha, narghile) smoking, cancer and the
need for a critical medical anthropology]. Rev Pneumol Clin. 2011
Apr;67(2):124-6. Epub 2010 Oct 27. French.
 Jacob P, Abu Raddaha A, Dempsey D, Havel C, Peng M, Yu L,
Benowitz NL. Nicotine, Carbon Monoxide, and Carcinogen Exposure after a
Single Use of a Waterpipe. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomrkers Prev. published 9
Sep 2011, 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-11-0545
 Chaouachi K. Public health intervention for narghile (hookah,
shisha) use requires a radical critique of the related ‘‘standardised’’
smoking machine. J Public Health 2009;18(1):69–73. Doi:
10.1007/s10389-009-0272-7 [Springer Berlin/Heidelberg].
 Chaouachi K. Assessment of narghile (shisha, hookah) smokers’
actual exposure to toxic chemicals requires further sound studies.
Libyan Journal of Medicine 2011, 6: 5934. 5 pages. Published Online 11
May 2011. Doi:10.3402/ljm.v5i0.5934
 Schubert J, Hahn J, Dettbarn G, Seidel A, Luch A, Schulz TG.
Mainstream smoke of the waterpipe: Does this environmental matrix reveal
as significant source of toxic compounds? Toxicol Lett. 2011;
 Gattavecchia E, McClure L, Chaouachi K, Carano M, Zaga V.
Benzopyrene and Tobacco Smoke [Benzopirene e fumo di tabacco].
http://www.tabaccologia.it/filedirectory/PDF/Tabaccologia03-10.pdf (8.65 Mb)
 Khater AE, Amr M, Chaouachi K. Uranium and Heavy Metals in
Narghile (Shisha, Hookah) Moassel. Session on Environmental
Radioactivity. Poster 11-P-18. The Third Asian and Oceanic Congress on
Radiation Protection. IRPA (International Radiation Protection
Association). Tokyo (Japan), 2010 (25 May).
 Patent 2005: "Narguile a allumage simplifie" [Narghile with
simplified ignition]. Appl. EP20050291196. Filed 3 June. Published 14
 Fagerström KO. Determinants of Tobacco Use and Renaming the FTND
to the Fagerström Test for Cigarette Dependence. Nicotine & Tobacco
Research (Oct 24, 2011)
 Fagerström KO. Tobacco or Nicotine Dependence ? Tabaccologia 2003;1:6
 Auf RA, Radwan GN, Loffredo CA, El Setouhy M, Israel E, Mohamed
MK. Assessment of tobacco dependence in waterpipe smokers in Egypt.Int J
Tuberc Lung Dis. 2012 Jan;16(1):132-7.
 Rastam S, Eissenberg T, Ibrahim I, Ward KD, Khalil R, Maziak W.
Comparative analysis of waterpipe and cigarette suppression of
abstinence and craving symptoms. Addict Behav. 2011 May;36(5):555-9.
Epub 2011 Jan 20.
 Carroll T, Poder N, Perusco A. Is concern about water pipe smoking warranted? Aust N Z J Public Health. 2008;32(2):181-2.
 Richard Hébert. What's new in Nicotine & Tobacco Research?
"Waterpipes are addictive, too". Nicotine & Tobacco Research 2009
 Chaouachi K. et al. Pre-Columbian Tobacco Smoking Mummies? A
Critical Review of the Evidence in the Light of Most Recent
Tobaccological & Anthropological Findings. Tabaccologia, in press,
2012, 15 pages [article in English].
 Floor W. The Art of Smoking in Iran and Other Uses of Tobacco. Iranian Studies 2002; 35 : 47-85.
 Globalink. The world antismoking Globalink network sponsored by
the pharmaceutical industry (Pfizer in particular) counts some 6,000
members working with : ministries of health; antismoking NGOs; the World
Health Organisation and its relevant bodies (TobReg, the Study Group
for the Regulation of Tobacco Products; the “Tobacco Free Initiative”;
the regional bureaux; etc.); the Cochrane Review Tobacco Addiction
Group; etc. Globalink also maintains strong links with the main
antismoking journals: “Tobacco Control” most importantly; “Nicotine and
Tobacco Research”; “Addiction”; some US biomedical journals which
regularly publish articles on tobacco issues, etc.
 Daher N, Saleh R, Jaroudi E, Sheheitli H, Badr T, Sepetdjian E,
Al-Rashidi M, Saliba N, Shihadeh A. Comparison of carcinogen, carbon
monoxide, and ultrafine particle emissions from narghile waterpipe and
cigarette smoking: Sidestream smoke measurements and assessment of
second-hand smoke emission factors. Atmospheric Environment 2010; 44(1):
 The Smoke Free Partnership [financed by and prepared for the
European Respiratory Society, INCa (Institut National du Cancer), Cancer
Research UK, European Heart Network]. Report “Lifting the smokescreen -
10 reasons for a smokefree Europe”. 2006. 146 pages. ISBN 1-904097-56-1
 Chaouachi K. Hookah (shisha, narghile, "water pipe") indoor air
contamination in German unrealistic experiment. Serious methodological
biases and ethical concern. Food Chem Toxicol 2010;48(3):992-5.
 Pulera N, Chaouachi K. Prevenzione dei danni da fumo di tabacco: un ruolo per l’islam? Tabaccologia 2007;1:20-21
 Liam Farrell. The prophet of nudge. British Medical Journal
2011; 342:d1448 doi: 10.1136/bmj.d1448 (Published 10 March 2011)
 Chaouachi K. An open Letter against Plagiarism and Plagiarists. Tabaccologia 2009; 1: 46-7 [English version]
 Bird FL. Modern Persia and its Capital - The National Geographic
Magazine, 1921; 39/4:383-6, 1921. Quoted (page 105, footnote 191 out of
387 footnote) in: Chaouachi K [Anthropology of Narghile: Its Use and
Soft Drugs], Paris, 1997, L'Harmattan, 262 pages.
 US-American University (US-AUB). US-AUB Tobacco Control Research Group. With Issam Fares Institute (05 Mar 2011)
http://www.aub.edu.lb/ifi/public_policy/rapp/rapp_research/Documents/economics_of_tobacco_lebanon/Short_Bios/Short_Bios.pdf (altern: http://docs.google.com/open?id=0B2iXoxgyuf9lQm5QeUtYTHM1ZGM)