A nonrandom sampIe of 2972 Kuwaitis answered a questionnaire about smoking behaviour and beliefs. More than one-third (35%) were nonsmokers, 45% smoked only the waterpipe, 12% only cigarettes and 8% both waterpipe and cigarettes. Compared with cigarette smokers, waterpipe smokers were more likely to be female and to be unskilled manual workers than professionals or students. Waterpipe smokers started the habit at an older age on average than cigarette smokers. Most waterpipe smokers smoked only 1 bowl per day, and smoked mostly at coffee houses. Factor analysis of beliefs about waterpipe smoking resulted in 4 groups of beliefs which explained 50% of the variance. The results are discussed in terms of public health policy and possible risk reduction strategies.