Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, "tar", and nicotine in the mainstream smoke aerosol of the narghile water pipe

Food Chem Toxicol. 2005 May;43(5):655-61. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2004.12.013.


A smoking machine protocol and yields for "tar", nicotine, PAH, and CO are presented for the standard 171-puff steady periodic smoking regimen proposed by Shihadeh et al. [Shihadeh, A., Azar, S., Antonios, C., Haddad, A., 2004b. Towards a topographical model of narghile water-pipe cafe smoking: A pilot study in a high socioeconomic status neighborhood of Beirut, Lebanon. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 79(1), 75]. Results show that smokers are likely exposed to more "tar" and nicotine than previously thought, and that pyronsynthesized PAH are present in the "tar" despite the low temperatures characteristic of the tobacco in narghile smoking. With a smoking regimen consisting of 171 puffs each of 0.53l volume and 2.6s duration with a 17 s interpuff interval, the following results were obtained for a single smoking session of 10 g of mo'assel tobacco paste with 1.5 quick-lighting charcoal disks applied to the narghile head: 2.94 mg nicotine, 802 mg "tar", 145 mg CO, and relative to the smoke of a single cigarette, greater quantities of chrysene, phenanthrene, and fluoranthene. Anthracene and pyrene were also identified but not quantified. The results indicate that narghile smoke likely contains an abundance of several of the chemicals thought to be causal factors in the elevated incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease and addiction in cigarette smokers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • Carbon Monoxide / analysis*
  • Carcinogens / analysis*
  • Chrysenes / analysis
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / analysis
  • Filtration / instrumentation
  • Fluorenes / analysis
  • Humans
  • Nicotiana / chemistry*
  • Nicotine / analysis*
  • Phenanthrenes / analysis
  • Plants, Toxic
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / analysis*
  • Smoke / analysis*
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Tars / analysis
  • Tars / chemistry*
  • Temperature
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / analysis


  • Aerosols
  • Carcinogens
  • Chrysenes
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Fluorenes
  • Phenanthrenes
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Smoke
  • Tars
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • tobacco tar
  • chrysene
  • fluoranthene
  • phenanthrene
  • Nicotine
  • Carbon Monoxide