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Pediatrics. 2005 Jul;116(1):e113-9.

Water-pipe (narghile) smoking: an emerging health risk behavior.

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Department of Mother, Child and Adolescent Health, Israel Ministry of Health, 20 King David St, PO Box 1176, Jerusalem 91010, Israel.


Narghile, or water-pipe smoking (WPS), has been practiced extensively for approximately 400 years. It is common in the Arabian Peninsula, Turkey, India, Pakistan, and other countries. In recent years, there has been a revival of WPS, notably among youth. Most US health professionals are unfamiliar with the practice and health consequences of WPS. Therefore, this trend presents a new challenge for adolescent health care providers. The composition of the tobacco used in WPS is variable and not well standardized. Studies that have examined narghile smokers and the aerosol of narghile smoke have reported high concentrations of carbon monoxide, nicotine, "tar," and heavy metals. These concentrations were as high or higher than those among cigarette smokers. The few scientific data regarding the adverse health consequences of WPS point to dangers that are similar to those associated with cigarette smoking: malignancy, impaired pulmonary function, low birth weight, and others. Additional dangers not encountered with cigarette smoking are infectious diseases resulting from pipe sharing and the frequent addition of alcohol or psychoactive drugs to the tobacco. Public health strategies for controlling the emerging epidemic of WPS include carrying out epidemiologic and toxicologic research; implementation of laws to limit acquisition and use; and health education, targeting adolescents in particular.

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