Narghile smoking and its adverse health consequences: a literature review

Br Dent J. 2009 Jun 13;206(11):571-3. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2009.475.


Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is a world health problem with approximately 50% of patients having a 5-year survival rate. A change in the demographics of the disease is now being recognised, particularly in Europe, where it is increasingly being seen in young males. While a variety of risk factors are important in OSCC, it is tobacco that plays a central part in the pathogenesis of the disease. Narghile is an old form of tobacco use but in the past decade, there has been a resurgence in this form of smoking. The practice is particularly common in young males and females from the Middle East but with the advent of immigration and globalisation, its use is becoming more widespread. It is now not uncommon to see narghile smoking in western countries such as the UK and USA. Studies describing the oral effects of narghile are unfortunately scarce. While adverse effects such as periodontal bone loss and dry socket have been described, its association with OSCC cannot be excluded. Variation in the type of narghile, the type of tobacco and the presence of co-factors such as cigarette smoking may all influence clinical outcome. In the present study, the practice of narghile smoking is reviewed in terms of its effect on health, particularly oral health. The association of narghile smoking and adverse effects on the orofacial region will be outlined, namely, periodontal disease, potentially malignant lesions and oral cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / etiology
  • Female
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mouth Neoplasms / etiology
  • Periodontal Diseases / etiology
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / ethnology
  • Tobacco / adverse effects