Water-pipe smoking and albuminuria: new dog with old tricks

PLoS One. 2014 Jan 17;9(1):e85652. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085652. eCollection 2014.


Water-pipe (WP) smoking is on rise worldwide for the past few years, particularly among younger individuals. Growing evidence indicates that WP smoking is as harmful as cigarette smoking. To date, most of the research has focused on acute health effects of WP smoking, and evidence remains limited when it comes to chronic health effects in relation to long-term WP smoking. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the association between WP smoking and albuminuria in apparently healthy individuals. This analysis was conducted on data of a population-based cross-sectional study--the Urban Rural Chronic Diseases Study (URCDS). The study sample was recruited from three sites in Pakistan. Trained nurses carried out individual interviews and obtained the information on demographics, lifestyle factors, and past and current medical history. Measurements of complete blood count, lipid profile, fasting glucose level, and 24-hour albuminuria were also made by using blood and urine samples. Albumin excretion was classified into three categories using standard cut-offs: normal excretion, high-normal excretion and microalbuminuria. Multiple logistic regression models were used to examine the relationship between WP smoking and albuminuria. The final analysis included data from 1,626 health individuals, of which 829 (51.0%) were males and 797 (49.0%) females. Of 1,626 individuals, 267 (16.4%) were current WP smokers and 1,359 (83.6%) were non-WP smokers. WP smoking was significantly associated with high-normal albuminuria (OR = 2.33, 95% CI 1.68-3.22, p-value <0.001) and microalbuminuria (OR = 1.75, 95% CI 1.18-2.58, p-value 0.005) after adjustment for age, sex, BMI, social class, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus. WP smoking was significantly associated with high-normal albuminuria and microalbuminuria when analysis was stratified on hypertension and diabetes mellitus categories. WP smoking has a strong association with albuminuria in apparently healthy individuals. More research is warranted to evaluate the temporality of this association between WP smoking and albuminuria.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Albuminuria / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Smoking / adverse effects*

Grant support

These authors have no support or funding to report.