"Waterpipe Is Like a Wife": Qualitative Assessment of Perspectives on Waterpipe Smoking Dependence. Article

Kedia, Satish, Ahuja, Nikhil, Hammal, Fadi et al. (2022). "Waterpipe Is Like a Wife": Qualitative Assessment of Perspectives on Waterpipe Smoking Dependence. . 14(4), 268-278. 10.34172/ahj.2022.1377

cited authors

  • Kedia, Satish; Ahuja, Nikhil; Hammal, Fadi; Asfar, Taghrid; Eissenberg, Thomas; Maziak, Wasim; Ward, Kenneth D



  • Background

    Waterpipe (WP) smoking has become a global public health problem in recent decades and growing evidence indicates that it can cause nicotine dependence. Most evidence on WP dependence to date has been derived from survey- or laboratory-based studies. This study employed qualitative methods to explore WP users' perceptions of dependence in Aleppo, Syria.


    A total of 15 focus groups were conducted with 64 adult WP smokers (51 males and 13 females) using a semi-structured interview. All focus group discussions were audiotaped, transcribed, and coded using directed content analysis.


    Several WP dependence features were consistent with those commonly reported by cigarette smokers. These included positively reinforced features, such as smoking's association with social gatherings and cultural connectedness, and negatively reinforced features including relief of withdrawal symptoms, stress, and boredom. Although interest in quitting was low, many users perceived quitting WP to be difficult and an indicator of loss of control over smoking, a common marker of dependence. Several observed dependence features were specific to WP, including transitioning from social smoking to smoking alone, and adapting one's behavior to the considerable effort normally required to engage in WP smoking despite inconvenience or cost, and often at the expense of other reinforcers such as social interaction.


    The general and specific features of WP dependence need to be considered in developing instruments to measure WP dependence, in clinical assessment of WP dependence, and in developing cessation programs.

publication date

  • October 1, 2022

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


  • Print-Electronic

start page

  • 268

end page

  • 278


  • 14


  • 4