PURPOSE: The extent of smoking related problems on health and economy are increasingly alarming worldwide. In the last few years, a great number of subjects, specially in the developing world are smoking narghile. Epidemiologic studies on narghile are an essential heuristic contribution. The objectives of this study are to describe the social and cultural characteristics of narghile- smokers as compared to regular tobacco smokers.
METHODS: 37 579 files of men and women consulting at Hariri Foundation (22 centers all over Lebanon) between 2003 and 2005 were studied. Exclusive Narghile smokers and cigarettes smokers are compared regarding age, sex, starting age and level of education.
RESULTS: 13776 persons (36.6%) are smokers of whom 88% smoke mostly cigarettes. 1529 subjects (11.1%) are exclusive smokers of narghile with an average prevalence of 4.06%. Smokers of narghile are younger than the smokers of cigarette with an average age of 36.2 ± 8.63 and 42.52 ± 1.87 respectively. Women (56.57%) consuming Narghile are more frequent compared to men (43.43%) with a gender ratio H/F of 0.77. A great number (38.95%) of narghile smokers are recent consumers with exposure beginning since less than 5 years. They are different from the smokers of cigarettes who are in majority (72.2%) older smokers of more than 10 years. Illiterate subjects are frequently smokers of narghile than of cigarettes (36.2 % and 24.2 % respectively).
CONCLUSION: : Smoking narghile is gaining popularity specially among youngsters and women reaching the level of a plague.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Smoking narghile, an increasing phenomenon with specific smoker's profile, is becoming a public health issue to be taken into account through anti-tobacco campaigns.
DISCLOSURE: Moussa Riachy, None.