Narghile (hubble-bubble) smoking, low birth weight, and other pregnancy outcomes

Am J Epidemiol. 1998 Aug 15;148(4):375-83. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a009656.


Narghile smoking, a common habit among women in many non-Western societies, is assumed by the public to be minimally harmful. This study aims at identifying the effect of smoking narghiles during pregnancy on the weight of the newborn and other pregnancy outcomes. Three groups of pregnant women were interviewed in several hospitals in Lebanon between 1993 and 1995: 106 who smoked narghiles during their pregnancy, 277 who smoked cigarettes, and 512 who did not smoke. The adjusted mean birth weight of babies born to women who smoked one or more narghiles a day during pregnancy and to women who started smoking in the first trimester was more than 100 g less than that of babies born to nonsmokers (p < 0.1). The adjusted odds ratio of having babies with low birth weight (<2,500 g) among the narghile smokers was 1.89 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.67-5.38). The risk increased to 2.62 (95% CI 0.90-7.66) among those who started smoking narghiles in the first trimester. A stronger association and a dose-response relation were found among cigarette smokers. The association between narghile smoking and other pregnancy outcomes, especially Apgar score and respiratory distress, was also noticeable. Further research and a policy action to fight the misperception that narghile smoking is safe are both recommended.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Birth Weight / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lebanon
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / etiology
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Tobacco / adverse effects*