The Making of a Hookah Story “Only on CNN”. Revelations from behind the Scenes…

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Issue: CNN and the planned global prohibition of smoking (and “vaping”). How the last hookah story on CNN by Chethan Sathya was prepared [1]

The Smile of the Devil in Disguise, "only on CNN". Lies through His Teeth about the Middle East Peace Pipe (Hookah, Shisha, Narghile)

Chethan Sathya, the CNN “journalist”. He Lies through His Teeth about the Middle East Peace Pipe (Hookah, Shisha, Narghile)

On the 10th of January of this year, we were contacted by Cheythan Sathya from Canada, who said he was a so-called medical doctor “Fellow in Global Journalism”. This was apparently for an article based on interviews with experts, to be published on CNN. He said he already wrote a previous paper in CBC on the issue of hookahs [2]. We immediately realised that the latter paper was based on a pseudoscientific study prepared by renowned members of the 6,000 member Big Pharma Globalink secret society (intranet), “Tobacco “Control”” and US-University of Beirut ‘s individuals like Fadi Hammal, Alan Shihadeh and Roberta Ferrence [3]. The aim was to attack the economic and cultural activity of Canadian lounges where herbal moassel (tobacco-free smoking mixtures) was still in use in spite of strict bans.

From the very beginning, we felt it smelt like a set-up. For instance, the insidious title of the CBC paper would mean that the exaggerated (and oftern just invented) so-called hazards of hookah smoking do “justify” strict bans when, in fact, this is all pseudoscience, institutionalised pseudoscience disseminated thanks to the collusion of mainstream media and corruption of the “peer-review” process in biomedical journals thanks to financial pressures from Big Pharma (nicotine patches, gums, etc. and other “quit” medicines). All the so-called “studies” (see examples on this site, particularly the one published in Cancer Epidemiology) are based on methodological tricks, sleight of hand procedures (e.g., not changing the water between two sessions, making the tobacco/molasses smoking mixture burn instead of just being roasted or vapourised, etc.) that, obviously, the average citizen cannot understand from the outset [2].

Many examples are given on this site. Concerning the very one by Helena Gideon and Neal Benowitz (Big Pharma, University of California), proudly brandished by CNN [4], see the following analysis of all its facets:

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

In spite of the dubious intentions and credentials on behalf of that “journalist”, we did welcome him and invite him to observe (see below) a minimum of ethical balance when outlining the scientific facts. We did not know yet that he was a new recruit in the global totalitarian campaign against the Middle East Peace Pipe that make them all hysterical: from the CDC to CNN…

Out of our past experience with such individuals, we can say that fresh holders of medicine diplomas, who are not talented or cannot find a job, sometimes try their luck as “medical” or “public health” scribblers for such mainstream media as CBC News, CNN News, Forbes, etc… A  previous pitiful example is Dr Robert Glatter with his “public health” Forbes story [5].

Then, on the 4th of March, perhaps eaten up with remorse and the necessity to save his face or avoid likely criticism for a paper which would be fatally seen as unbalanced and based on censorship of dissenting scientific views, Cheythan Sathya wrote to Phil Johnson, co-director of NASBO (a United Kingdom based association for the defence of owners of UK lounges where the Middle East Peace Pipe is smoked). He likely found his names after “googling” a few words on the internet, unfortunately the preferred work methodology of more and more so-called “journalists”…

On 04/03/2014 16:24, Chethan Sathya wrote [this email message was appended to a further correspondence in which we were CC’d]:

“Dear NASBO,

I am a medical reporter with CNN. We are doing a story on hookah smoking and I was wondering if I could get your comments on the topic. We are discussing recent hookah smoking bans and your input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, “

And then, on the very same day, after receiving a reply from Phil Johnson detailing why bans are nonsense (note: Johnson did not refer to the pseudoscience lying behind the bans and this is precisely what Chethan Satya wanted):

On 04/03/2014 23:31, Chethan Sathya wrote:

“Dear Phil,

Thanks for the reply. So what would you like countries to do to prevent secondhand smoke exposure from hookah to the public? What would be the solution? Thanks, Chethan”

          A few days later:

On Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 6:22 PM, Chethan Sathya < chethan.sathya@… > wrote:

“Thanks for the reply. Very interesting indeed. Do you know of any organizations similar to yours in the United States”

On 10/03/2014 22:25, Chethan Sathya wrote:

“And I appreciate the decision about choice, as is the right of all people. So when many experts are asking for bans, what solution do you propose to the situation? What would make hookah lounges safe for employees who work their? How can we restrict use to only those who go their to smoke? Licences, ventilation standards, age cut offs? Thanks! “

Interesting, Phil Johnson made use of a striking image about Fire, even more relevant that the first name of the CNN scribbler means, by a strange coincidence, “Devil” in Arabic… Indeed, only the Devil can have such a scientific misconduct…

Interestingly the co-director of NASBO wrote to the CNN journalist the following:

On Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 9:19 PM, NASBO < admin@nasbouk… > wrote:

Hi Chethan,
Sorry for delay in replying but have been away from the computer for a week….. but here we go my frien!
You ask (again) and I respond again) :-

    Now Chethan, you ask a very simple question and with all respect it is a question that a 6/7/8 year old could easily answer! Ask yourself this question please: “Who enters a shisha/hookah lounge? Is it someone who wishes to enjoy a relaxing, social smoke with friends or is it the general public, 75% of whom do not smoke?”
You see how simple the answer is Chethan? Those that do not smoke, or do not wish to be anywhere near SHS would not dream of entering such a premises, which is perfect as it then leaves the shisha/hookah lounges unoccupied for those who do wish to smoke. It is called CHOICE Chethan and people should have the freedom of choice. Those who wish to enjoy a social drink in a non smoking environment simply got to a non smoking establishment. Why do businesses need to ‘go under’ because of the most discriminatory law ever?

    Would a non drinker who cannot abide the smell of intoxicating beers/spirits enter a drinking parlour? I don’t think so, they would choose to avoid the place and socialise elsewhere.
Would someone with a fear of heights start climbing mountains or tall buildings…..I don’t think so!
Would a claustrophobic person go caving…..I don’t think so!
So the answer is very, very simple Chethan….. IF YOU CAN’T STAND THE HEAT MOVE AWAY FROM THE FIRE!

    You then ask about ‘making a premises safe for employees’? Again, with great respect, how absurd a question is that Chethan? Why would any non smoking chef/waitress want to work in a smoky environment in the first place? All the shisha lounges that I know of only employ those who enjoy shisha smoking-that is why they choose to work there in the first place.

Finally, on the 18th of March, Michael McFadden, the Mid-Atlantic Director of the Citizens Freedom Alliance and word renowned author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains” sent him a long detailed message in tune with that from Johnson:

On Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 2:49 PM, Michael McFadden <cantiloper@…. > wrote:

This is when the Devil in disguise, realised his fig leaf had suddenly fallen because McFadden, who knows us, had not only cited us as an ad hoc “expert” for this issue but also naively… CC’d us…

Less than one minute later, the prohibitionist-in-disguise “journalist” informed:

On Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 2:50 PM, Chethan Sathya <chethan.sathya@… > wrote:

“Thanks for the reply all. I haven’t finished with the story already but appreciate all your time! Thanks,


Naturally, McFadden asked for clarifications:

“On Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 2:54 PM, Michael McFadden < cantiloper@….> wrote:

“Chethan, can you clarify that? Are you saying you HAVE finished with the story, or are you saying you are still working on it and can use more information? Michael”

On Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 2:56 PM, Chethan Sathya < chethan.sathya@… > wrote:

“Sorry Michael for the confusion. I have finished the story. I’ll be sure to contact you and your team if any other questions come up though. Thanks for all your time, Chethan”



[1] Chethan Sathya. Nearly 1 in 5 high school seniors have tried hookah. CNN, 7 Jul 2014.

[2] Chethan Sathya. Hookah smoking’s dangers lead to bans. Waterpipe fumes may be more toxic than cigarettes, experts find. CBC News, Dec 23, 2013

[3] Hammal F, Chappell A, Wild TC, Kindzierski W, Shihadeh A, Vanderhoek A, Huynh CK, Plateel G, Finegan BA. ‘Herbal’ but potentially hazardous: an analysis of the constituents and smoke emissions of tobacco-free waterpipe products and the air quality in the cafes where they are served. Tob Control. 2013 Oct 15. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2013-051169.

[4] 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

[5] Robert Glatter. Is Hookah Smoking Less Harmful than Cigarette Smoking? 18 Sep 2012


[6] 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 2009; 6(2):798-843.

“Yet, all these problems and now classical systematic biases were addressed in another 50 page peer-reviewed article titled “Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Smoking and Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS)….” (Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009). Amazingly, the latter was only cited in the list of bibliographical references and was not commented anywhere in the manuscript. As the one previously mentioned, such a publication actually dispels a fair number of myths regarding shisha use: from the 100 to 200 cigarette equivalence based on the WHO flawed report to the fact that the matrix of shisha smoke is far less complex than that of cigarette (e.g.: near 150 chemicals vs. 5000 for a cigarette – supported by “swept under the carpet” peer-reviewed references in the English language, published as early as 1991 by Middle East independent research at King Saud University…). ”

[7] Russia’s UN envoy Churkin replies to CNN anchor Amanpour. March 21, 2014

[8] Chaouachi K. Letter to Dr Donald Gardner (Editor-in-chief Inhalation Toxicology journal) dated 7 Dec 2010 and Correspondence. Online Dec 16, 2010.

[9] Huma Qureshi. 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. The Guardian. Monday 22 August 2011 20.59 BST

[10] Fahiemah Al-Ali & Connie Karambelas. Health effects of hookah, spot on or smoke and mirrors? Medill News Service 2010 (03 June)



(Disclosed here because of the ethical violation on behalf of Chethan Sathya)










































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