Pulmonary functions of narghile smokers compared to cigarette smokers: a case-control study

Libyan J Med. 2013 Dec 30;8(1):22650. doi: 10.3402/ljm.v8i0.22650. eCollection 2013.


Background: Studies of the lung function profiles of exclusive narghile smokers (ENS) are few, have some methodological limits, and present contradictory conclusions. The present study aimed to compare the plethysmographic profiles of ENS with age- and height-matched exclusive cigarette smokers (ECS).

Methods: Males aged 35-60 living in Sousse, Tunisia, who have been smoking narghile exclusively for more than 10 narghile-years (n = 36) or cigarettes exclusively for more than 10 pack-years (n = 106) were recruited to participate in this case-control study. The anthropometric and plethysmographic data were measured according to international recommendations using a body plethysmograph (ZAN 500 Body II, Meβgreräte GmbH, Germany). Large-airway-obstructive-ventilatory-defect (LAOVD) was defined as: first second forced expiratory volume/forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC) below the lower-limit-of-normal (LLN). Restrictive-ventilatory-defect (RVD) was defined as total lung capacity < LLN. Lung hyperinflation was defined as residual volume > upper-limit-of-normal. Student t-test and χ(2) test were used to compare plethysmographic data and profiles of the two groups.

Results: The subjects in the ENS and ECS groups are well matched in age (45±7 vs. 47±5 years) and height (1.73±0.06 vs. 1.72±0.06 m) and used similar quantities of tobacco (36±22 narghile-years vs. 35±19 pack-years). Compared to the ENS group, the ECS group had significantly lower FEV1 (84±12 vs. 60±21%), FVC (90±12 vs. 76±18%), and FEV1/FVC (99±7 vs. 83±17%). The two groups had similar percentages of RVD (31 vs. 36%), while the ECS group had a significantly higher percentage of LAOVD (8 vs. 58%) and lung hyperinflation (36 vs.57%).

Conclusion: Chronic exclusive narghile smoking has less adverse effects on pulmonary function tests than chronic exclusive cigarette smoking.

Keywords: ageing; narghile; plethysmography; tabamel; tobacco.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers
  • Plethysmography*
  • Respiratory Function Tests* / methods
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / physiopathology*
  • Tobacco / adverse effects*
  • Tunisia / epidemiology