Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking (WTS) Knowledge Hub
Newsletter 2018

WTS Newsletter 2018


The launch of the KH-WTS was held in November 2017 at AUB. This Knowledge Hub (KH) is the first in the Middle East and the third of the six FCTC knowledge hubs that aim at promoting and strengthening the global efforts of WHO and FCTC to curb the epidemic of tobacco use. The launch was attended by government officials, AUB’s leadership and administration and other researchers, experts, NGOs and stakeholders. The launch was held during the Third International Conference on Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking Research: “Translating waterpipe tobacco smoking research evidence into practice, policy and regulation” and a Pre-conference workshop on: “Dissemination and Implementation Training for Waterpipe Research”. This symposium was held in collaboration with the Syrian Center for Smoking Research, and supported by the US National Institute of Health.


A. Workshops
The WTS-KH in collaboration with the Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) and technical support of WHO EMRO, organized two consecutive workshops in November at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon:

Workshop #1: “Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking (WTS) Regulations & Challenges” on 6-7 November 2018.

The objectives of the workshop were:
1. To review the current global tobacco control laws and policies as they relate to regulating waterpipe tobacco smoking (WTS) and the extent of implementing by Parties of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) articles for that purpose.
2. To identify challenges associated with the enactment and enforcement of WTS control legislation in the context of different countries;
3. To discuss how evidence to date can guide regulation of waterpipe smoking in public places and the implementation of regulations that take into consideration the unique design of the waterpipe and its accessories and their use;
4. To draw a set of recommendations for future actions tailored for the identified regulatory specificities and challenges of WTS.

Workshop #2: “FCA EMRO FCTC Capacity Building Workshop”, on 8-9 November 2018.

The objectives of the workshop were:
1. To assist in a global strategy on prevalence reduction of tobacco use
2. To study the Illicit Tobacco Trade and Taxation Programme (ITTP) and FCTC Art 6 guidelines
3. To provide examples of evidence-based strategies on the implementation of Art 6 guideline and ITTP ratification.
4. To discuss the barriers and facilities for implementation of Art 6 and ratification of ITTP.
5. To discuss changes to the existing national laws and regulations according to the adopted Art 6 guideline and ITTP based on evidence based strategies
6. To build capacity of the NGOs on how to collaborate and build effective national and regional teamwork on tobacco control.
More details on the workshop agenda, speakers and presentations are available on the website; please visit the following link:

The workshops were attended by policymakers, non-government organizations, and academics from the Eastern Mediterranean Region, who discussed individual country experiences across a number of themes: UK: Dr. Mohamed Jawad; Egypt: Dr. Mouhamad Madbouli; Qatar: Dr. Ahmad Almulla; Iran: Mr. Behzad Valizadeh; Jordan: Mawya Elzawawi; Turkey: Dr. Elif Dagli; South Africa, WHO FCTC Knowledge Hub on Taxation: Kristen Van Der Zee; Pakistan: Dr. Mohamed Javed; Oman: Jawad Al-Lawatti; Kuwait: Anwar Bou Rahma; WHO FCTC: Dr. Tibor Szilagyi; WHO Lebanon: Dr. Iman Shankiti; WHO Canada: Jean Tesche; FCA: Mr. Francis Thompson; AUB: Dr. Alan Shihadeh and Dr. Najat Saliba; Lebanon: Roula Moawad and Maitre Dany Rifaat

The workshops highlighted the importance of political lobbying and tobacco industry interference with public health policies such as transnational tobacco company interest in waterpipe tobacco like Al-Nakhla (Egypt) and Haggar Cigarette & Tobacco Factory Ltd (Sudan) by Japan Tobacco International.

The candidates emphasized on Chapters 10 and 11 of the 2015 WHO Advisory Note on Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking which outlines a comprehensive list of policy recommendations specific to waterpipe tobacco. The workshop drew a set of recommendations for future actions tailored for the identified regulatory specificities and challenges of WTS. Here are the participant’s recommendations and comments:  Involving more countries from the region  Breakdown of the policies and discuss each one alone  Introducing more discussions and Q & A sessions  Announcing a technical specific recommendation from the experts  Such as links, online resources, policy process documents  Focusing more on the technical knowledge and less on general concepts  Connecting the organizations with the Knowledge Hubs and government policymakers with NGOs on smoking issues  Concentrating more on success stories and pointing on the creative solutions not the typical ones

B. Webinars
In its efforts to highlight the knowledge on waterpipe smoking and discuss contemporary issues related to waterpipe use, the KH-WTS organized this year a series of webinars:

Webinar #1 on July 12, 2018: “The Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking Knowledge Hub significance” presented by Dr. Ghazi Zaatari, the Director, KH-WTS who highlighted the global WTS epidemic and the objectives of the WTS KH.
For the full presentation, please visit the following link:

Webinar #2 on September 11, 2018: “Guideline, policy options & recommendations for implementation of the WTS WHO FCTC articles” presented by Dr. Rima Nakkash, Coordinator of the Tobacco Control Research Group (TCRG) at AUB, and Mohammed Jawad, PhD candidate at the Public Health Policy and Evaluation Unit, Imperial College London who reviewed the current state of policy and regulations
For the full presentation, please visit the following link:

Webinar #3 on December 13, 2018: “The relevance of WHO FCTC for waterpipe tobacco control policies in light of COP8 decisions” presented by Dr. Tibor Szilagyi, Reporting and Knowledge team leader of the WHO FCTC Convention Secretariat, and Dr. Rima Nakkash, who presented an overview of WTS and regulations in light of the implementation of FCTC and the recently held COP8 and its efforts in strengthening control on all tobacco products.
For the full presentation, please visit the following link:

Webinar #4 on February 19, 2019: “The EMRO Region & WTS: Highlights on Lebanon & WTS” presented by Dr. Monique Chaaya, Professor and Chair of the Department of
Epidemiology & Population Health at AUB, who will review the current WTS trends in the EMR in the region and Lebanon’s current status.


More details about the webinar presentations are available on the website;

Please visit the following link

C. Participation in International Congresses
In 2018, the objectives and the work of the WTS KH were promoted and presented at several international and regional meetings:
1. “Regional training on the implementation of WHO FCTC article 5.3” workshop on February 23 to 26 sponsored by WHO EMRO by 2018 in Beirut, Lebanon
2. World Congress on Tobacco and Health (WCTOH) on March 7-8, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.
3. Pre COP8 meeting for EMRO countries, August 14-15, 2018 in Cairo, Egypt
4. Conference of Parties COP8, October 1- 6, 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland
5. “Tobacco industry interference and alternatives products” workshop on December 11 and 12, 2018 in Islamabad, Pakistan

D. Publications
In preparation for COP8, KH-WTS prepared for the FCTC Secretariat a global report on: “The Prevalence of use and an Overview of Global Regulatory Practices in Controlling Waterpipe Tobacco Use”. This report documented key observations on country regulations and experiences in WTS control, identified the gaps in evidence on such practices, and provided practical and useful recommendations for development of future policies that are aimed at strengthening regulating and controlling waterpipe use.
For the full report, please visit the following link:

E. Website and Social Media
The KH-WTS has been keen at promoting its objectives and activities through social media. For this purpose, the website covers the following topics:
o Waterpipe overview
 History and background
 The waterpipe design and components`
 The waterpipe tobacco products
o Spread & prevalence of use
o Health effects
o Rules, regulations & guidance
o Science & research
o Publications
o Conferences, workshops, webinars & training
o Waterpipe smoking facts & reports
o Newsletter

In addition, these are the accounts on leading social media networks:
 Website:
 Twitter:
 Facebook:
 Instagram:
 YouTube:


WTS KH Newsletter

(February, March, April and May 2018)


On January 15, 2016, the American University of Beirut (AUB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Convention Secretariat of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) designating AUB as the Global Knowledge Hub (KH) for waterpipe tobacco smoking (WTS);

The WTS KH latest activities:

  • Continuous exchange of scientific evidence and information with all the FCTC focal points
  • Continuous update of the user friendly Knowledge Hub (KH) website which is searchable online:
  • Continuous update of the Publication page: To meet the objectives of the KH, it was deemed necessary to be well informed of all recent scientific publications on waterpipe. For that purpose a software search tool for the Publication page was installed in cooperation with WHO IT team. This feature allows good knowledge of recent research and investigative work on WPS. It can also serve as a platform for researchers on WTS to share information and experiences and address any knowledge gaps.
  • Continuous online activity and specifically on social media which includes updating the Facebook, twitter, YouTube, Instagram by publishing/sharing/posting related: papers, new studies, conferences, graphics, pictures, stories, short videos and fact sheets increasing awareness among the youth about the health effects of WTS, dispelling misconceptions about its safety, and informing them about the toxicants that are present in WTS.
  • Developed an educational video/animation on WTS in English, French, and Arabic that was shared online on the WTS KH YouTube Channel
  • In March 2018, The WTS KH adopted a statement on the Foundation for a Smoke-free World with the rest of the Parties under their expertise in relation to the WHO FCTC Knowledge Hubs and expressed its commitment to act in the spirit of Article 5.3 and its guidelines in carrying out the assigned activities. Read the statement here:
  • In March 2018, The WTS KH participated in the Annual planning workshop for the FCTC 2030 Parties on the sidelines of the World Conference on Tobacco

Please visit: