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Waterpipe tobacco products: nicotine labelling versus nicotine delivery
  1. Andrea R Vansickel1,
  2. Alan Shihadeh2,
  3. Thomas Eissenberg3,4
  1. 1Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA
  2. 2Department of Mechanical Engineering, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
  3. 3Department of Psychology, Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA
  4. 4Syrian Center for Tobacco Studies, Aleppo, Syria
  1. Correspondence to Andrea R Vansickel, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University, Box 980205, Richmond, VA 23298, USA; arvansickel{at}vcu.edu

Abstract

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.

  • Waterpipe
  • nicotine
  • tobacco
  • narghile
  • hookah
  • packaging and labelling
  • tobacco products

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Footnotes

  • 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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