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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Friday, July 14, 2006 - 3:50 PM

Behavioral and Genetic Aspects of Waterpipe Smoking in Egypt

Christopher Loffredo, PhD, Lombardi Cancer Center, Egyptian Smoking Reseach Prevention Institute (ESPRI), Lombardi Cancer Center. Georgetown University School of Medicine. Box 571472. 3800 Reservoir Rd, Washington DC, WA 20057-1472

Objective: Little is known about prevalence, health effects, and behaviors of waterpipe smokers. The Egypt Smoking Prevention Research Institute recently completed (1) a national survey of tobacco smoking, (2) a survey of female waterpipe smokers, and (3) a biomarker study.

Methods: (1) The national survey used a four-stage probability sample of administrative districts, villages or neighborhoods, households, and individuals. (2) We conducted a survey of adult women smokers attending cafes in Cairo. (3) We enrolled 149 current adult male waterpipe smokers and 78 male never smokers, with oral cell scrapings for micronucleus evaluation.

Results: (1) 4,455 individuals participated in the national survey. Few females admitted to smoking (<2%), while rates of ever smoking among males were 5.5% in 12-17 year-olds and 56.5% in adults. The weighted 95% confidence interval for current cigarette smoking in adult males was 28% to 38%, while for waterpipes it was 10% to 16%. (2) Half of the 630 females in the café survey (49 %) were exclusive cigarette smokers: they were younger on average than cigarette users (29 vs. 37 yrs, p<0.001). Unmarried women were more likely than others to believe that waterpipe smoking is less harmful than cigarettes. (3) The mean total number of micronuclei per subject was significantly higher among male waterpipe smokers (10.9 + 4.4 ) compared to never smokers (4.2 + 1.9, p <0.001). There is a need for transdisciplinary research into all aspects of this tobacco habit.