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Epidemiology and Adverse Consequences of Hookah/Waterpipe Use: A Systematic Review

[ Vol. 17 , Issue. 2 ]


Rebecca Pratiti* and Debabrata Mukherjee   Pages 82 - 93 ( 12 )


Hookah smoking is becoming a popular trend globally. Waterpipe smoking is the second most prevalent form of alternate tobacco products. The rapid increase in hookah use is because of the misconception prevalent in society that hookah smoking is less harmful than cigarette smoking. Smoking ban policies had given impetus of switching from cigarette smoking to alternate tobacco products like waterpipe. Hookah users regard hookah to be more socially acceptable, less stigmatizing with flavors and to alleviate cigarette craving symptoms. Newer basic science research on animal models and human cells has shown consistently mutagenic, oxidative, and inflammatory changes that could cause possible health effects of premalignant oral lesion and chronic diseases like atherosclerosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Studies on the chemistry of waterpipe smoke had shown alarming results with the smoke containing seven carcinogens, 39 central nervous system depressants, and 31 respiratory irritants. Enormous data exist showing waterpipe smoking causing various health effects. Hookah smoking effects on cardiovascular disease is additive with hookah containing a significant amount of nicotine, tar, and heavy metals causing both acute and chronic effects on the cardiovascular system. These effects include increased heart rate, blood pressure, prevalence of coronary heart disease, heart failure, ST-segment elevation myocardial ischemia, recurrent ischemia, and worse outcomes including mortality related to these diseases. The objectives of the review are to assess the factor associated with the increasing use of hookah, its health effects, options for hookah smoking cessation, and public health policy initiatives to mitigate waterpipe use.


Carcinogenesis, cardiovascular diseases, health policy, nicotine dependence, oxidative stress, smoking, tobacco use cessation, water pipe.


McLaren HealthCare, G-3245 Beecher Rd, Flint, MA 48532, Texas Tech University Health Science Center, Department of Internal Medicine, El Paso, TX 79905

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