Objectives and background: Hazard of smoking tobacco is believed to be minimized by smoking hubble-bubble (HB) instead of cigarettes. Our aims were to (i) develop an assay for estimating nicotine and cotinine; and (ii) evaluate the effect of smoking on respiratory and metabolic parameters in cigarette and HB smokers.
Methods: Urine samples were collected from 152 volunteer smokers (75 cigarette and 77 HB) as well as from 16 healthy controls. We optimized an HPLC method for the determination of nicotine and cotinine. Subjects were asked to complete a chronic respiratory symptoms questionnaire and to undergo spirometry. Fasting blood samples were collected for the determination of their lipid profile.
Results: The intra-assay coefficients of variation for nicotine and cotinine were 16.6% and 6.6%, respectively. The mean of cotinine in cigarette smokers (1321.4 ng/mL) was significantly (P = 0.008) higher than the mean cotinine (677.6 ng/mL) in HB smokers. The mean nicotine level in cigarette smokers (1487.3 ng/mL) was significantly (P < 0.0001) higher than the mean nicotine (440.5 ng/mL) in HB smoker. The urinary cotinine and nicotine levels of the control subjects were lower than the detection levels of the assay. The mean high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was lower in cigarette smokers (0.99 mmol/L) compared with HB smoker smokers (1.02 mmol/L) but this was not significant (P = 0.28). Spirometric values were comparable among the three groups but the chronic respiratory symptoms in the smoking groups appeared at an earlier age in the HB smokers compared with the cigarettes smokers (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: Smoking HB does not reduce the risk of tobacco exposure and it's potentially harmful metabolites on health.