A Pseudoscientific Stinking Consensus (Big «Tobacco Harm Reduction», Big Pharma, Big Tobacco) against the Middle East Peace Pipe

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According to Dr Rodu, the water itslef, i.e. the main tobacco smoke filter (50%) in the Middle East Peace Pipe, is particularly hazardous…

From a recent article published by Dr Brad Rodu on his own “blog” (amazingly titled “Tobacco Truth”….)[1], it is now clear that most new «Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR)» advocates (*), particularly those having received funding from the tobacco industry (dubbed Big Tobacco), have now jumped on the global anti- ««waterpipe»» (warcode name) wagon driven by the antismoking research, mainly funded, directly or indirectly, by the pharmaceutical industry (nicotine “replacement” tool; such products and medicines as nicotine gums, patches, Chantix, etc.).

For memory, a few years ago, a so-called yearly “Tobacco Harm Reduction” report attacked in a similar dishonest way the now gone-global Middle East Peace Pipe. The document cited ««evidence» to be found in papers published, among others, in a renowned Big Pharma journal (“Nicotine and Tobacco Research”) particularly prominent in the world antismoking market.

Amazingly this time, after citing a highly “scientific” resource named…. “Wikipedia”…., the world renowned THR advocate of E-cigarettes and Swedish SNUS (smokeless tobacco) picks a “study” (and only one…; highly biased as usual) supposed to provide evidence of the hazards of shisha smoking [2]

Not only Dr Rodu endorses the world confusion brought about by the use of the ««waterpipe»» nominalism but he also:

1-uncritically praises the two main authors who, unsurprisingly, are no other individuals than Thomas Eissenberg and Alan Shihadeh, well known for having prepared with their colleague Wasim Maziak, the WHO calamitous report on the MEPP; a “scientific” report whose two first sentences contain two errors…)[3];

2-shows he has not got the least idea of the problems posed by smoking machines and the tricks the above researchers have been playing, abusing of the ignorance of the broad public (except among African and Asian populations where their pseudoscientific propaganda is strongly rejected). We have described such tricks (for instance, tinkering with the heat source (charcoal) and the thermal screen (aluminium foil)) and their epistemological consequences in a recent paper published in the British Journal of Cancer [4];

3-ignores that the publication he did cite was not one not about the popular (at least in the USA) product named Moassel but about a tobacco-free one and that the aim of that “study” was to push for legislation against the latter because some lounges serving the Middle East Peace Pipe have been using it as a way to circle the multiplying bans based on this kind of “science”…

Based on such a pseudoscientific Gospel, Dr Rodu quickly draws his own conclusions: “Waterpipe smoking produces unacceptable levels of toxic contaminants.  Don’t be snookered by hookah[1].

While others have been simply plagiarising our own critical publications (from Bertrand Dautzenberg (Office Français du Tabagisme – the fanatic sister organisation of Action on Smoking and Health) and Jean-Yves Nau (journal Le Monde) in France to Olivia Maynard in the United Kingdom)[5-6], our right-to-the-point response to Dr Brad Rodu’s ignorance will remain the above cited article recently published in the BJC. This is because in 1000 words, it shatters one full decade of pseudoscientific –often violent- claims and methods regarding the so-called toxicity of shisha/narghile smoking, by the very researchers Dr Rodu blindly relies on [1][4].

Dr Rodu also ignores or feigns to ignore that the designers of the E-cigarette (an innovative product he fiercely defends) actually drew their inspiration from the very principle (vapour generation) of the Middle East Peace Pipe itself [7-8]

Like it or not, the smoke chemistry of a properly prepared hookah (not the biased one set up in the laboratory of the US-AUB, spearhead of the global prohibition agenda)[4]) is very much more similar (essentially vapour and glycerol and the unavoidable CO due to the charcoal) to that of a E-cigarette than of a regular one.

The fact that Dr Rodu has been funded by Big Tobacco and, at the same time, now running with the scare-mongering pack of Big Pharma supported researchers –not to mention his emphasis that Eissenberg is actually on the board of the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) Tobacco Products Advisory Committee, is just revealing of how supposed archenemies can share mutual interests [9]

Few researchers know that the FDA is a prohibitionist body when it comes to some tobacco products. It is similar, at the UN level, to the thingummy  named WHO TobReg whose college of “experts” is known for its total lack of scientific, cultural and geographical diversity. The best evidence is that one of these undemocratically appointed “experts” (Ghazi Zaatari, from the US-American University of Beirut) has personally selected Thomas Eissenberg and Alan Shihadeh (the latter from the same US-Lebanese university) to “entrust” them with the “mission” of preparing the WHO calamitous report [3]. As for the peer-review of that « report”, it was carried, among others, by Jack Henningfield, a US notorious member of Big Pharma (Pinney Associates/pharmaceutical company)…

Ethical Conclusions

Users of the Middle East Peace Pipe and their friends and relatives, beware of that global dirty campaign…  Please know that when it comes to your cultural tradition, there is now a global pseudoscientific consensus between Big Tobacco, Big Pharma and many advocates of harm reduction products like the E-cigarette or smokeless tobacco of the Swedish SNUS type.


Bibliographical notes and references

(* ) We say “contemporaneous” “Tobacco Harm Reduction” advocates because the Middle East Peace Pipe is actually the first natural tobacco harm reduction in the world, in spite of all their ««waterpipe»» pseudo-science since the beginning of their global crusade against the MEPP by year 2002, i.e. in the wake of some events in the USA (see article: ) . One of the obvious reasons is clear when one takes into consideration the high amounts of tobacco smoked in it during a single session and from an early date in History.

[1] Brad Rodu. The Hazards of Waterpipe Smoking. 11 Oct 2013.


[2] Shihadeh A, Salman R, Jaroudi E, Saliba N, Sepetdjian E, Blank MD, Cobb CO, Eissenberg T. Does switching to a tobacco-free waterpipe product reduce toxicant intake? A crossover study comparing CO, NO, PAH, volatile aldehydes, “tar” and nicotine yields. Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Mar 1. [Epub ahead of print]


[3] See: 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


[4] Chaouachi K. False positive result in study on hookah smoking and cancer in Kashmir: measuring risk of poor hygiene is not the same as measuring risk of inhaling water filtered tobacco smoke all over the world. Br J Cancer. 2013 Apr 2;108(6):1389-90. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2013.98. Epub 2013 Mar 7. Author’s copy available.


[5] Maynard OM, Gage SH, Munafo MR. Are waterpipe users tobacco-dependent ? Addiction. 2013 Nov;108(11):1886-7. doi: 10.1111/add.12317.


[6] See: Patched Up Pseudoscience & Plagiarism on Behalf of UK Researchers (Olivia Maynard et al.) in Big Pharma Supported Journal. 29 Oct 2013


[7] See: E-Cigarettes, Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) and E-Hookah. British Medical Journal 2010 (29 Jan). A comment on: Flouris AD, Oikonomou DN. Electronic cigarettes: miracle or menace ? BMJ. 2010 Jan 19;340:c311. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c311


[8] See: Is the Electronic “Healthy Shisha” Really Healthy ? SciTopics [research summaries by experts]. 2010 (16 Nov).


[9] See: Big Tobacco & Big Pharma Against “Oriental” Hookah Outsider. 11 Apr 2011



Further recommended reading:

Jacob Sullum. Muddying the Hookah Water. Reason Magazine – June 1, 2011


PS (30 Nov): We realised later that the same article was also published on the RStreet site whose motto is “Free markets, real solutions”… so that even  so-called “”libertarians”” run with the Prohibitionist pack against the hookah. Expect anything from anyone and any group when it comes to the Middle East Peace Pipe…

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