Waterpipe tobacco smoking: an emerging health crisis in the United States

Am J Health Behav. 2010 May-Jun;34(3):275-85. doi: 10.5993/ajhb.34.3.3.


Objective: To examine the prevalence and potential health risks of waterpipe tobacco smoking.

Methods: A literature review was performed to compile information relating to waterpipe tobacco smoking.

Results: Waterpipe tobacco smoking is increasing in prevalence worldwide; in the United States, 10-20% of some young adult populations are current waterpipe users. Depending on the toxicant measured, a single waterpipe session produces the equivalent of at least 1 and as many as 50 cigarettes. Misconceptions about waterpipe smoke content may lead users to underestimate health risks.

Conclusion: Inclusion of waterpipe tobacco smoking in tobacco control activities may help reduce its spread.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Monoxide / analysis
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Lebanon / epidemiology
  • Nicotine / analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Smoke / analysis
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / trends*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / etiology
  • Syria / epidemiology
  • Tars / analysis
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Smoke
  • Tars
  • tobacco tar
  • Nicotine
  • Carbon Monoxide