Background Waterpipe tobacco package labelling typically indicates “0.0% tar” and “0.05% or 0.5% nicotine”.
Objective To determine the extent to which nicotine labeling is related to nicotine delivery.
Methods 110 waterpipe smokers engaged in a 45-minute waterpipe smoking session. Puff topography and plasma nicotine were measured. Three waterpipe tobacco brands were used: Nakhla (0.5% nicotine), Starbuzz (0.05% nicotine), and Al Fakher (0.05% nicotine). Data were analyzed by one-way ANOVA.
Results Topography did not differ across brands. Peak plasma nicotine varied significantly across brands. Al Fakher had the highest nicotine delivery (11.4 ng/ml) followed by Nakhla (9.8 ng/ml) and Starbuzz (5.8 ng/ml).
Conclusions Nicotine labelling on waterpipe tobacco products does not reflect delivery; smoking a brand with a “0.05% nicotine” label led to greater plasma nicotine levels than smoking a brand with a “0.5% nicotine” label. Waterpipe tobacco products should be labelled in a manner that does not mislead consumers.
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Funding This research was supported by USPHS grants R01CA103827, R01CA120142 and T32DA007027-34. Other funders: NIH.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Virginia Commonwealth University.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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