Tobacco smoking continues to be the leading preventable cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Each year more than 5 million smokers die prematurely because of their habit wreaking havoc on the welfare of families and communities worldwide. While cigarettes remain the main tobacco killer worldwide, for many youth tobacco use and addiction is maintained by means other than cigarettes. In particular, over the past decade, waterpipe smoking (a.k.a. hookah, shisha, narghile) has become increasingly popular among youth in the Middle East, and is rapidly spreading globally. Available evidence suggests that waterpipe smoking is associated with many of the known risks of tobacco smoking, particularly cancer. Despite these worrisome signs, policies and interventions to address this emerging public health problem have been lagging behind. In this short review I discuss briefly the evidence generated mostly in the past decade about the global spread of waterpipe smoking and its cancer risk potential.
Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Ltd.