U.S. flag An official website of the United States government
  1. Home
  2. Tobacco Products
  3. Tobacco Science & Research
  4. Research
  5. Assessing Toxicity of Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking in Laboratory and Naturalistic Settings
  1. Research

Assessing Toxicity of Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking in Laboratory and Naturalistic Settings

Principal Investigator: Nada O. Kassem

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health – Grant

ID number: 1R01DA042471-01

Award Date: 8/15/2016

Institution: San Diego State University Research Foundation


Waterpipe users are exposed to toxicants classified by FDA as harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs). As part of this study, researchers will conduct two projects. Project 1 is a machine-smoking study designed to determine the effects of different use behaviors (topography) on the toxicity of waterpipe tobacco smoke inhaled by users. Researchers will use a machine to “smoke” a popular U.S. manufactured waterpipe tobacco (Starbuzz) using two variables -- quick-light charcoal vs. charcoal-free electrically heated waterpipe head, and room temperature water vs. adding ice cubes in the waterpipe jar – to create four waterpipe configurations. They will then quantify and compare levels of mainstream carbon monoxide (CO), nicotine, select volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds including furan. Project 2 is a real-world study of the effects of these smoking practices on biomarkers of toxicants and carcinogens. Researchers will recruit a sample of 50 adult male and female exclusive waterpipe smokers and a control sample of 25 adult male and female non-smokers. Waterpipe smokers will smoke one waterpipe tobacco head (10g) of Starbuzz during three separate sessions: Session 1: smoking waterpipe tobacco using quick-light charcoal and room temperature water in the waterpipe jar; Session 2: smoking waterpipe tobacco using quick-light charcoal and adding ice cubes to the water in the waterpipe jar; and Session 3: smoking waterpipe tobacco without charcoal using a charcoal-free electrically-heated waterpipe head and room temperature water in the waterpipe jar. Researchers will collect the following data from participants: (1) tobacco use history; (2) a four-week tobacco exposure diary; (3) a waterpipe use session form; (4) CO exposure (measured using a Micro+ Smokerlyzer® CO monitor) and (5) six first-morning urine samples, in order to measure nicotine metabolites and other biomarkers of tobacco exposure.