Use & Misuse of Water-filtered Tobacco Smoking Pipes in the World. Consequences for Public Health, Research & Research Ethics

Kamal Chaouachi*
DIU Tabacologie, Université Paris XI, France

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© Chaouachi; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.



The traditional definition of an “epidemic” has been revisited by antismoking researchers. After 400 years, Doctors would have realized that one aspect of an ancient cultural daily practice of Asian and African societies was in fact a “global “epidemic””. This needed further investigation particularly if one keeps in his mind the health aspects surrounding barbecues.


Here, up-to-date biomedical results are dialectically confronted with anthropological findings, hence in real life, in order to highlight the extent of the global confusion: from the new definition of an “epidemic” and “prevalence” to the myth of “nicotine “addiction”” and other themes in relation to water filtered tobacco smoking pipes (WFTSPs).


We found that over the last decade, many publications, -particularly reviews, “meta-analyses” and “systematic reviews”- on (WFTSPs), have actually contributed to fuelling the greatest mix-up ever witnessed in biomedical research. One main reason for such a situation has been the absolute lack of critical analysis of the available literature and the uncritical use of citations (one seriously flawed review has been cited up to 200 times). Another main reason has been to take as granted a biased smoking robot designed at the US American of Beirut whose measured yields of toxic chemicals may differ dozens of times from others' based on the same “protocol”. We also found that, for more than one decade, two other main methodological problems are: 1) the long-lived unwillingness to distinguish between use and misuse; 2) the consistent unethical rejection of biomedical negative results which, interestingly, are quantitatively and qualitatively much more instructive than the positive ones.


the great majority of WFTSP toxicity studies have actually measured, voluntarily or not, their misuse aspects, not the use in itself. This is in contradiction with both the harm reduction and public health doctrines. The publication of negative results should be encouraged instead of being stifled.

Keywords: : Electronic cigarette, harm reduction, hookah, narghile, public health,shisha, smoking, tobacco.