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Effect of electric heating and ice added to the bowl on mainstream waterpipe semivolatile furan and other toxicant yields
  1. Marielle C Brinkman1,
  2. Andreas A Teferra1,
  3. Noura O Kassem2,
  4. Nada OF Kassem2
  1. 1College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  2. 2School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Marielle C Brinkman, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA; brinkman.224{at}


Objectives We examined mainstream total particulate matter, nicotine, cotinine, menthol, pyrene, carbon monoxide (CO) and semivolatile furan yields from a commercial waterpipe with two methods for heating the tobacco, quick-light charcoal (charcoal) and electric head (electric) and two water bowl preparations: with (ice) and without ice (water).

Methods Emissions from a single brand of popular waterpipe tobacco (10 g) were generated using machine smoking according to a two-stage puffing regimen developed from human puffing topography. Tobacco and charcoal consumption were calculated for each machine smoking session as mass lost, expressed as a fraction of presmoking mass.

Results The heating method had the greatest effect on toxicant yields. Electric heating resulted in increases in the fraction of tobacco consumed (2.4 times more, p<0.0001), mainstream nicotine (1.4 times higher, p=0.002) and semivolatile furan yields (1.4 times higher, p<0.03), and a decrease in mainstream CO and pyrene yields (8.2 and 2.1 times lower, respectively, p<0.001) as compared with charcoal. Adding ice to the bowl resulted in higher furan yields for electric heating. Menthol yields were not different across the four conditions and averaged 0.16±0.03 mg/session. 3-Furaldehyde and 5-(hydroxymethyl)−2-furaldehyde yields were more than 85 and 2500 times higher, respectively, than those reported for cigarettes.

Conclusion Waterpipe components used to heat the tobacco and water bowl preparation can significantly affect mainstream toxicant yields. Mainstream waterpipe tobacco smoke is a significant source of inhalation exposure to semivolatile furans with human carcinogenic and mutagenic potential. These data highlight the need for acute and chronic inhalation toxicity data for semivolatile furans and provide support for the establishment of limits governing sugar additives in waterpipe tobacco and educational campaigns linking waterpipe tobacco smoking behaviours with their associated harm.

  • carcinogens
  • nicotine
  • non-cigarette tobacco products
  • addiction

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  • Contributors MCB, NOK and NOFK were responsible for the conception and design of the study. AAT was responsible for the statistical analysis. All authors contributed to the analysis and interpretation of the data and the preparation of the manuscript.

  • Funding Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01DA042471 to Nada O.F. Kassem.

  • Disclaimer The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request. All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.