Determinants and Consequences of Narghile or Waterpipe Smoking : Extending the Research Agenda - Phase II

The last 15 years have seen an increase in narghile (waterpipe) smoking, particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean. Hookah bars are also springing up in Europe and North America. This may be due to unsubstantiated assumptions about the relative safety of this form of tobacco use, the social nature of the activity and the relatively recent innovation of flavoring the tobacco.

In an earlier project (103454), researchers at the American University of Beirut surveyed a number of population groups in Lebanon regarding their knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about narghile. They also analyzed the level of toxins in inhaled smoke and investigated the reasons for the high level of tobacco use in the country. The project led to the formation of the Tobacco Prevention and Control Research Group at the University and was instrumental in getting the World Health Organization (WHO) to issue a health advisory on narghile.

In this project, researchers will investigate the extent to which narghile smokers absorb the carcinogens in inhaled smoke, the nature of narghile addiction, the harm posed by second-hand smoke, and the association between narghile smoking and coronary atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries). They will also explore attitudes toward narghile smoking by women, and parents' attitudes toward their children's smoking. It is hoped that the findings will lead to far-reaching policy changes both locally and internationally.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Monday, November 13, 2006

End Date

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


36 months

IDRC Officer

Leppan, Wardie

Total funding

CA$ 557,160


Lebanon, Middle East, Central Asia, Far East Asia, South Asia


Maternal and Child Health

Project Leader

Alan Shihadeh

Project Leader

Monique Chaaya


American University of Beirut

Institution Country


Institution Website