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      Respiratory health and quality of life in young exclusive, habitual smokers - a comparison of waterpipe smokers, cigarette smokers and non-smokers

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          Waterpipe (WP) use has become a global trend in young populations. However, there are few well-controlled studies focusing specifically on the chronic effects of exclusive WP use on young adults’ respiratory health. We sought to compare in young adults the burden of respiratory symptoms in regular WP smokers (WPS) relative to regular cigarette smokers (CS, positive controls) and non-smokers (negative controls); and to evaluate differences in health-related quality of life between the three groups.


          We implemented a cross-sectional survey in college campuses across four countries (Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Oman). Purposive sampling was employed to identify habitual (regular) healthy WPS (smoked 3 or more WP per week for 3 or more years); CS (smoked 5 or more cigarettes daily for 3 or more years); and non-smokers. Respiratory symptoms were assessed using the European Community Respiratory Health Survey and the American Thoracic Society and the Division of Lung Diseases Questionnaire. Health-related quality of life was measured using the Short-Form 12. Demographic, environmental and lifestyle factors also were measured.


          The analytic sample included 135 WPS, 303 CS, and 300 non-smokers. Either tobacco group had significantly greater proportions of males than the non-smoker group. A significantly lower proportion of non-smokers (than either tobacco group) was overweight or obese. Average numbers of reported respiratory symptoms were 5.1, 5.8, and 2.9 in WPS, CS, and non-smokers, respectively. In multivariable regressions controlling for environmental exposures, body mass index, and physical activity, WPS and CS exhibited significantly higher rates of respiratory symptoms than non-smokers (1.6 times greater and 1.9 times greater rate of respiratory symptoms than non-smokers, respectively). Non-smokers reported significantly higher scores for general health relative to either WPS or CS.


          Relative to their young non-smoking counterparts, young habitual WPS exhibit a significant burden of respiratory symptoms that is comparable to that observed with CS. Young WPS (and CS), despite their age, may be well on their way to developing respiratory disease.

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          Most cited references 40

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          Clinical Significance of Symptoms in Smokers with Preserved Pulmonary Function.

          Currently, the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) requires a ratio of forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) to forced vital capacity (FVC) of less than 0.70 as assessed by spirometry after bronchodilator use. However, many smokers who do not meet this definition have respiratory symptoms.
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            Clinical and Radiologic Disease in Smokers With Normal Spirometry.

            Airflow obstruction on spirometry is universally used to define chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and current or former smokers without airflow obstruction may assume that they are disease free.
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              Smoking habits in the Middle East and North Africa: results of the BREATHE study.

              Few recent comparative data exist on smoking habits in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The objective of this analysis was to evaluate smoking patterns in a large general population sample of individuals aged ≥ 40 years in ten countries in the region (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and United Arab Emirates), together with Pakistan, using a standardised methodology. A random sample of 457,258 telephone numbers was generated and called. This identified 65,154 eligible subjects, of whom 62,086 agreed to participate. A screening questionnaire was administered to each participant, which included six questions relating to cigarette consumption and waterpipe use. The age- and gender-adjusted proportion of respondents reporting current or past smoking of cigarettes or waterpipes was 31.2% [95% CI: 30.9-31.6%]. This proportion was significantly higher (p < 0.001) in men (48.0%) than in women (13.8%), but no relevant differences were observed between age groups. Smoking rates were in general lowest in the Maghreb countries and Pakistan and highest in the Eastern Mediterranean countries, ranging from 15.3% in Morocco to 53.9% in Lebanon. Consumption rates were 28.8% [28.4-29.2%] for cigarette smoking and 3.5% [3.4-3.6%] for waterpipe use. Use of waterpipes was most frequent in Saudi Arabia (8.5% of respondents) but remained low in the Maghreb countries (< 1.5%). Cumulative cigarette exposure was high, with a mean number of pack · years smoked of 18.5 ± 20.5 for women and 29.1 ± 26.2 for men. In conclusion, smoking is a major health issue in the MENA region.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                13 August 2019
                : 14
                : 1813-1824
                [1 ] Cancer Control Office, King Hussein Cancer Center, School of Medicine, University of Jordan , Amman, Jordan
                [2 ] Cancer Control Office, King Hussein Cancer Center , Amman, Jordan
                [3 ] Department of Medicine, Sultan Qaboos University Hospital , Muscat, Oman
                [4 ] Faculty of Medicine, Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University , Fez, Morocco
                [5 ] Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University , Cairo, Egypt
                Author notes
                Correspondence: F I HawariSection of Pulmonary and Critical Care, Cancer Control Office, King Hussein Cancer Center , Queen Rania Al Abdullah Street, P.O. Box 1269 Al-Jubeiha, Amman11941, JordanTel +962 6 530 0460 ext 5240Fax +962 6 534 2567Email
                © 2019 Hawari et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 4, References: 52, Pages: 12
                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                tobacco, hookah, cough, phlegm, lung diseases, early onset


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