The Sacred Narghile Credits

This site was designed and has been hosted by Thermal Exposure

Head: alex [at] (replace "[a]" with "@")

Editors: sacrednarghile [a]

Main outside consulted expert:
kamal HERE

If you are in a hurry, just this read this

SEMINAL ARTICLE (2012): Ten Post-11/9 Great Myths about Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Smoking & Public Health


FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

about  The Sacred Narghile

and the Observatory on Hookah and Health to some extent

Note : FAQ about Hookah in general HERE

What is this Site About ?

It’s all about hookahs (narghile, shisha, “sheesha”, “water pipe”, ““waterpipe””): for smoking or decoration. Gossip or scholar talk, society, culture, history and health aspects.

Who Has Been Running this Site ?

This site has been managed and updated by Alex (USA), Juan (Colombia), Diana (Colombia), Genevieve (France) with the help of main outside consulted expert Kamal (ex-officio)(France and Middle East) . From the beginning, we have been committed to fight junk science and obscurantism in the field of hookah studies. Instead, we have been saying, again and again, that we want sound and independent scientific research where there is no room for bias, politics, censorship, plagiarism, crusades and witch-hunts.

See ALSO KC's response (13 June 2007) to Police of Thought Officers hanging around and prowling Wikipedia Narguile French Page (automatic ENGLISH)

Original in French:

Why Are You the Only Ones in the World Who Oppose Junk Science and Research on Shisha (Hookah, Narghile) Smoking
and the Related Public Health Recommendations Based on Them ?

We don't know, really. As far as other scientists (particularly in the Tobacco Research field) are concerned, we suspect that they may be afraid "for their "career""... As for the numerous "hookah lovers", "amateurs", "hookah fan clubs", etc., and even pro-tobacco groups, we are as amazed as you by this dumbfounding silence (safe a few exceptions). For your information, some of them even support and advertise that junk science. Believe it or not, you are free. This recently happened in France: See full story here

We are not afraid of a world consensus, just like Galileo was not when people were believing that the Earth was the centre of the universe...

Do You Believe in a World Plot
Against the Hookah ?

We don't believe in plots. However, our enemies, the so-called """Anti""-"Tobacco" activists (who defend, for 80% of them, the interests of the Pharmaceutical Industry (nicotine patches, gums, Varenicline, Champix, etc.), do. For instance, they unshamedly say that Big Tobacco (The transnational Tobacco Industry companies (Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds, Japan Tobacco, etc.) stand behind the hookah "epidemic". This is mere bigotry and obscurantism given a pseudo-scientific justification by ignorant reductionist researchers working in "prestigious" institutions themselves. In other words, these people don't like Complexity because they can't understand it. Please refer to the Bibliographic section of this site for more details.

What Do You Mean by «Censorship»?

This site was launched 7 years ago as a direct reaction against blatant censorship on the early scientific comprehensive work carried on one decade ago by Kamal. Indeed, could hundreds of early pages and reviews setting out the state of science in the biomedical, historical, sociological and anthropological fields be brushed aside so easily as if they didn’t exist ? This unpunished scientific misconduct has prevailed for years. The protagonists were researchers of the US-American University of Beirut (particularly Monique Chaaya) who thought it was not necessary (and perhaps dangerous…) to cite this early literature. The same scenario took place again a few years later with the total blackout imposed by the staff of the US-Syrian Center for Tobacco Studies

In their so-called “worldwide review[s]”, the self-proclaimed experts only cited studies serving their dubious objectives and interests. Key references were strikingly missing and their authors obviously meant it in order to present themselves to the world as “pioneers” in this field of research.

But the cases of blatant censorship are so numerous: international conferences, journals, etc. More details will be given later.

From then, this site has become a free tribune for all censored materials in the field of hookah studies: not the least is the critique of the WHO (World Health Organization) report on "waterpipe tobacco smoking", the first ever published by this United Nations agency. It took its author a full year before finding a truly independent and truly peer-reviewed journal that would accept to publish it.

Can You Give Another Striking Example of Censorhip Action, but in Voltaire's Homeland this Time ?

The draft of a study entitled The Medical Consequences of Narghile (Hookah, Shisha) Use in the World was first submitted in French to a French medical journal (La Presse Médicale) by Winter 2005. There, the document has been frozen for months by “peer-reviewers” who, in the end, decided to reject it. They could not “argue”, as their English-speaking colleagues of the Hookah Studies Monopoly would deceivingly do, that the English is poor simply because it was drafted in French…

As they could not find a single scientific error in it (comments on reports of their “peer-reviewers” available upon request), they were not unscrupulous to say it was not “scientific”…

The author eventually understood the whole scheme when he heard later on French TV that a team of researchers was carrying on, since the very date his manuscript was submitted to the above medical journal, a “study” that would be “the first study” (“la premiere etude” in French) on narghile smoking in France…

In order to circle this blatant censorship action, the manuscript was translated into English and submitted to the Revue of Epidemiodologie et Sante Publique [Epidemiology and Public Health], an independent medical journal published by the French INSERM (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale) which also accepts studies in English.

There it was peer-reviewed in an independent way and the comments by several peer-reviewers were quite objective. The paper was amended and finally accepted in December 2006 and will be finally published in its papers version in June 2007.

However, the docuement is already available online in “Epub ahead of print” version (electronic format) and upon request that will be forwarded to the author.


Kamal. The Medical Consequences of Narghile (Hookah, Shisha) Use in the World. Rev Epidemiol Sante Publique [Epidemiology and Public Health] 2007 (20 June):3. [Article in English][Epub Ahead of Print (17 Apr)].

Why Have You Been, for Years, and almost Exclusively, Citing your Consultant’s Publications ? Weren’t There other Studies than His?

Unfortunately, from a transdisciplinary (health, anthropology and other) perspective, there isn’t so far any relevant work. However, for a few years now, and in response to public health concerns, a considerable amount of biomedical studies has been published. Unfortunately, 95% of them are biased, confusing or of very poor quality. For details about them, please refer to the numerous Letters to the Editor listed in our KC’s Publications List . For the time being, The Sacred Narghile can only recommend a First List of Acceptable, Good and Very Good Studies

If you, reader, find any dismissed publication that you think might be relevant, please tell us. We will be happy to add it as long as it is not junk science.

Note: See also FAQ answer to What do you Mean by «Censorship»?”

Some People Say You are Critical of Junk Research on Hookah (Shisha, Narghile) Smoking Because You Have Commercial Interests in Patents, etc. Is This True?

Of course not. We work with our brains only. Contrary to our foes who are funded by millions of dollars (1), we have never received and we don't receive money:

-neither from Big Tobacco (cigarette companies), scared by the crowds of teenagers flocking toward the "bubbling rival" (according to our friend Raven)

-nor from Big Pharma (Pharmaceutical industry of nicotine patches and gums...) which finances about 80% of the studies in the field of tobacco research. Note also that for Big Pharma, the weird and peculiar dependence in hookah smokers is a vexing problem...

-nor from the national Public Health authorities (particularly in the USA, Oceania and Europe) who found in the hookah (narghile, shisha) "epidemic" the ideal scapegoat for their failure (despite their repeated celebrations of the World No-Tobacco Day) in preventing tobacco (mainly cigarette) use among teenagers.

We were the first, 10 years ago, to recommend to public health authorities the development of harm reduction techniques in order to avoid (mainly) carbon monoxide intoxication in certain circumstances. All the remaining talk is mere gossip and defamation: SEE HERE FOR MORE DETAILS

(1) ““Waterpipe””™ Antismoking Research: circa $ 10 MILLION (10, 000,000) vs. Independent Research (no funding). This $10M aid is mostly provided by US sources : FIC (Fogarty International Center), BIg Pharma RWJF (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), NCI (National Cancer Institute), etc. (How's That ?).

Note: $10 Million = $2000 per day for 13 years !

This will not change anything in the fact that 95% of studies on shisha (hookah, narghile) smoking are wrong as we showed.

Don’t You Go Too Far When You State that an Expert Report Prepared by the World Health Organization is “Erroneous” ?

Read the critique and judge by yourself. The reverse is true. They went too far.... If you feel you are not qualified to decide whether or not its author is right or wrong, then try to find only one tobacco expert in the world (there are thousands…) who can do it. For your information, this critique has not been published in a village gazette but in an international independent peer-reviewed biomedical journal: the Journal of Negative Results in Biomedicine. This means that its scientific contents, including its critiques of previously published studies, has been approved by the Editorial Board of the same journal after it has been analysed in all its details by independent qualified peer-reviewers: in other words, scientists highly specialized in tobacco issues. The evaluation process of the manuscript (which, for your information, takes months) was positive. This is the way science goes forward: through discussion and debate. Censorship is like a boomerang. So even this critique is open to debate. For its author, the problem deals actually less with his critique than it does with the fact that the erroneous WHO report has remained uncommented (by the tobacco scientific community) for a very long time before he stumbled on it.

Finally, an important note on how censorship can keep going on. Any independent brave scientist who would like to cite the Critique of the WHO Report on Hookah Smoking in a new study, will face the opposition of the so-called “peer-reviewers” of the journal to which the manuscript is submitted. Therefore, this situation also sheds some light on the so-called “Impact Factor” reached by “famous” studies. As a matter of fact, if a study is cited again and again, this does NOT mean that it is a good study ! Only boobies believe this. In some cases, as it happens a lot in the field of hookah studies, this may mean that the whole scientific community is wrong !

Take just one example of a 1-page paper published in a prestigious journal and blindly cited again and again:

Kandela P. Nargile smoking keeps Arabs in Wonderland. The Lancet 2000; 356 (9236): 1175.

Shouldn’t we say, instead: Narghile Smoking Keeps Researchers in Wonderland ?

What do You Mean by “Neo-Orientalism” ?

Neo-Orientalism encompasses the new modern forms of orientalism. Read the following abstract in English as a relevant example:

> Culture matérielle et orientalisme. L’exemple d’une recherche socio-anthropologique sur le narguilé. Arabica, tome LIII,2, 177-209. Koninklijke Brill NV (Leiden) 2006. [Engl.: Material Culture and Orientalism. The Example of a Socio-Anthropological Research on Narghile]

What do You Mean by “Tobacco Control”

Of course, not “Tobacco Kontrol” (“controlling smokers and their suppliers” according to Pierre Lemieux’ cogent critiques). From a diametrical point of view, we understand it with its broad traditional meaning  of “drug control” as in John Marks’ famous work (Drug Misuse and Social Cost. Br J Hosp Med. 1994 Jul 13-Aug 16;52(2-3):65, 67)[available here in English and there in French]. This non-conformist physician used to prescribe (legally, within the British System) hard drugs to their users. Therefore, the "Tobacco Control" non-prohibitionist notion means the control over the quality of products (cigarettes, cigars, etc.) that also implies a systematic decriminalisation of harm reduction solutions (Eclipse cigarette, Swedish SNUS, No-Carbon Monoxide hookah, etc.) and, not the least, a rejection of the growing related junk science that stained the credibility of science and public health.