A Middle East Peace Pipe Once a Week Equivalent to Less than One Cigarette, New FCTC Prohibitionist Study Finds

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««Waterpipe»» antismoking researchers at the University of San Francisco, led by Neal Benowitz, the latter now well known for his past methodological tricks (e.g., not changing on purpose the water of the pipe in order to downplay its filtering effect)[1], have, once again and in vain, tried to assess the toxicity of hookah smoking in a so-called “naturalistic” environment [2]. Of course, it is not since most hookah lounges are known for not offering correct levels of ventilation, unlike their counterparts in the Middle East.

The levels of toxicity found among hookah smokers (asked to refrain from smoking for one week) were, once again, far less important than those measured in cigarette smokers in the past. Please consider, in particular, NNAL, a metabolite of the highly hazardous NNK.

However, let us see how theirs “results” are deceivingly presented to the public for the purpose of antismoking prohibition propaganda:

They “found” (“immediately following water pipe smoking”):

-“an average 73-fold increase in nicotine”

-“4-fold increase in cotinine, 2-fold increase in NNAL”

-“and 14% to 91% increase in VOC mercapturic acid metabolites”

Please relish, in particular:

-a “14% increase” for an actual rise of 0.14 (that is, one tenth…)…

-a “91% increase” for what actually is a rise of 0.91 (that is, less than one unit…)…

As for nicotine and its metabolite (cotinine), a “press-release” immediately published by the American Association for Cancer Research for misuse by the mainstream media in charge of hyping these data (presented in such a deceiving way…), adds, at the end: that “the average increase in nicotine levels was comparable to levels obtained after smoking at least one cigarette” [3].

The main author is not ashamed to state that such levels “raise[s] concerns about the potential addictiveness of water pipe smoking and possible effects on the developing brains of children and youths who use water pipes”[3].….


1-This “study”, with its usual biases -and led by the usual antismoking researchers funded by the pharmaceutical industry (nicotine “replacement” tools, gadgets and medicines: from nicotine patches to Chantix)-, confirms the findings of the first aetiological solid study on hookah smoking and cancer carried out by Pakistani doctors [4]. It highlights the much lower carcinogenicity of the Middle East Peace Pipe, which is in fact even lower when the pipe is correctly prepared (that is, when the generated aerosol is much similar to the vapour of a E-cigarette).

2-What this new “study” has measured is effeciency of ventilation in some hookah lounges, and certainly not the effect the water-filtered tobacco smoke [1].

3-Finally, let us emphasise here that such publications are, along with Google censoring of “hookah health” research results”, part of the global beating drums campaign to prepare the broad public to accept in the medium term the FCTC (Framework Convention for “Tobacco “Control””) prohibitionist agenda [5]. The recent case of Uganda is interesting in this respect [6].

Note: A few years back, a German team has carried out a similar study, not in a polluted hookah bar but in a room in which (among other blatant flaws) the windows were closed and the water not changed [7][8]

Addendum: Appreciate (here) the “scientific” “opposition” (and its level) Thomas Eissenberg has selected for his the pseudo-scientific ««waterpipe»» “”real-life”” “studies” he defends: “Blogs and online reviewers” (sic)… That is, certainly not the bibliographical references to be found on our site…



[1] 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.


[2] Gideon St. Helen, Neal L. Benowitz, Katherine M. Dains, Christopher Havel, Margaret Peng, and Peyton Jacob, III. Nicotine and Carcinogen Exposure after Water Pipe Smoking in Hookah Bars. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. published 16 May 2014, 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-13-0939


[3] American Association for Cancer Research. “Water pipe smoking causes significant exposure to nicotine and cancer-causing agents” Medical Xpress. 16 May 2014.


[4] 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


[5] Prohibition Through the Hookah Looking Glass. Speech delivered at the second world conference of TICAP (The Tobacco International Coalition Against Prohibition)(Theme: “Are Guests Welcome? Prohibition and the Hospitality Industry”). 15 Mar 2010. Nieuwspoort; The Hague, The Netherlands.


[6] Tuhirirwe Karane. To Ban or Not to Ban Shisha Smoking. 30 April 2014


“However while reading The Guardian; I landed on an article that seemed to suggest otherwise! […]”

[7] Fromme H, Dietrich S, Heitmann D, Dressel H, Diemer J, Schulz T, Jörres RA, Berlin K, Völkel W. Indoor air contamination during a waterpipe (narghile) smoking session. Food Chem Toxicol. 2009 Jul;47(7):1636-41.


[8] 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. Doi:10.1016/j.fct.2010.01.020





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