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Waterpipe smoking: Results from a population-based study in Qatar

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journal contribution
submitted on 2024-02-25, 12:02 and posted on 2024-02-25, 12:03 authored by Ahmad AlMulla, Silva Kouyoumjian, Patrick Maisonneuve, Sohaila Cheema, Ravinder Mamtani


Waterpipe smoking is common in the Eastern Mediterranean Region and is becoming more prevalent in Qatar. To better plan waterpipe smoking control strategies we aimed to: 1) determine the prevalence of waterpipe smoking and explore its patterns in Qatar; 2) describe the knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to smoking behaviors; 3) recognize locations of waterpipe smoking and symptoms experienced during waterpipe sessions; and 4) evaluate the frequency of waterpipe smoking and the initiation age.


We analyzed the data of a 7921 population-based survey of adults aged ≥18 years (nationals and expatriates), conducted in Qatar between March and December 2019. Out of 7105 surveys collected, 6904 were complete and included in the analysis.


Of the 6904, 570 (8.3%; 95% CI: 7.7–9.0) were waterpipe tobacco smokers, 425 (10.6%) males and 145 (5.1%) females. The highest prevalence of waterpipe smoking was reported among people aged 18–24 years (10.6%). Of the 575 waterpipe smokers, 56.3% (n=324) were exclusive waterpipe smokers. Use of other tobacco products among waterpipe smokers was higher among Qataris (52.3%) than expatriates (37.7%). Waterpipe cafés were the most common location for waterpipe smoking, however, females preferred restaurants; 83.3% reported that waterpipe smoking is harmful, while 39.3% considered that it is less harmful than cigarette smoking.


Waterpipe smoking prevalence is considerably high in Qatar, the second form of tobacco used. The formulation of new policies and enforcement of regulatory restrictions on waterpipe smoking are essential to reduce its uptake. Expansion in tobacco cessation services for women and poly-tobacco users is needed.

Other Information

Published in: Tobacco Induced Diseases
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Additional institutions affiliated with: Tobacco Control Center, WHO Collaborating Center for Treating Tobacco Dependence - HMC


Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.



  • English


European Publishing

Publication Year

  • 2022

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Medical Corporation
  • Qatar Metabolic Institute - HMC
  • Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar
  • Institute for Population Health - WCM-Q

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