The waterpipe: a new way of hooking youth on tobacco

Am J Addict. Mar-Apr 2014;23(2):103-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1521-0391.2013.12073.x. Epub 2013 Jun 10.


Background: Tobacco smoking continues to be the number one preventable cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Several evidence-based interventions and policies have been successful in reducing cigarette smoking in developed countries. Globally, however, many beginning smokers are introduced to tobacco by means other than cigarettes. In particular, waterpipe smoking (a.k.a. hookah, narghile, shisha) has been dramatically increasing among youth worldwide.

Methods: In this short review, I will introduce the reader to this emerging tobacco use method and focus on its addictive properties, and how this pertains to the development of effective interventions to curb its spread.

Results and conclusions: Waterpipe smoking is likely to be associated with much of the harmful effects of cigarette smoking, is addictive, and can serve as a bridge to cigarettes. Due to its unique features, waterpipe-specific interventions and policies are needed to curb the global waterpipe epidemic.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Behavior, Addictive / epidemiology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Internationality
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / epidemiology*