Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking (WTS) Knowledge Hub (KH)

Newsletter January- August 2019

WTS-KH was launched 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.

  1. WTS-KH attending the Fourth meeting of the WHO FCTC Secretariat’s Knowledge Hubs

WTS KH delegate, Ms. Hala Alaouie, attended the WHO FCTC Secretariat’s Knowledge Hubs Meeting, held in Bangkok on 13-14 May 2019 and actively participated in the discussions related to Knowledge Hubs activities, future plans, sustainability and fundraising, improving assistance to Parties and organizations on improved tobacco control measures, and enhancing collaborations between KHs. For Lebanon specifically, it was suggested to consider reinforcement of Article 5.3, gender and human rights issues in the work plans.

  1. Organized the World Tobacco Day 2019 (WNTD2019)

The WTS-KH and the Tobacco Free Initiative of Lebanon (TFI) in collaboration with the Country Office of World Health Organization (WHO), organized an event  at the American University of Beirut (AUB) on  June 1 to mark2019 World No Tobacco Day. H.E. Minister of Public Health, Dr. Jamil Jabak, attended the event as keynote speaker and shared his valuable perspectives on tobacco control and reinforcement of Lebanon’s Law 174 on Tobacco Control that was enacted in 2011. He gave an overview of the health risks and effects of smoking on the person’s health,  the benefits of quitting smoking, and the necessary precautions that need to be adopted to combat the impact of smoking in our society. He emphatically stated that, “It is necessary that more effort be exerted to activate previously issued laws pertaining to control the use of tobacco. Monitoring and reinforcement  are of utmost priority in order to secure healthier societies.” Furthermore, he expressed his disappointment with the alarming prevalence of tobacco use in the country and voiced his strong opposition to any attempt at amending tobacco control Law 174.

A host of members of the Lebanese Parliament, distinguished guests from the community, AUB and AUBMC leaders and supporters attended the event and extended their support to the expressed views by Dr. Jabak.

The event also featured an exhibition of valuable artwork by middle and high school children on the subject of tobacco control and Law 174, and the winning projects received The Antoine and Minerva Kairouz Award.

AUB’s President Khuri’s addressed the audience by a video message on this occasion (

The WTS-KH  commissioned a video to heighten awareness on the serious health effects of WTS.

-Please check the link bellow for more details and pictures:

  • WTS-KH working on Law Enforcement & Advocacy with Members of the Parliament

The WTS-KH team reviewed  with the Chair of the Lebanese Parliament Health Committee, Dr. Assem Araji, at the Lebanese Parliament on July 30, 2019 f possible action plans to strengthen Law 174 on tobacco control in Lebanon.

In addition, Arafat Tfayli, MD, Professor of Clinical Medicine, Director of Research, NK Basile Cancer Institute at the American University of Beirut Medical Center represented the WTS-KH team at the Parliament’s Health Committee meeting on September 3, 2019. The Committee was discussing a recommendation to increase taxation on imported tobacco products in view of the reported high prevalence of cancer in the country where smoking is a major cause of it. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Finance the Lebanese Directorate of General Customs and Head of the Regie Libanaise de Tabacs et Tombacs (RLTT) at the Lebanese parliament with a representative from the ministry of finance, a representative from

Dr. Tfayli presented the data on the cancer burden of tobacco use in the country and the alarming growing epidemic if the government does not take effective measures soon to reverse this trend.  He reiterated the position of KH_WTS that higher taxation should be implemented on all tobacco products and the need for a comprehensive and effective national tobacco control plan to counter this epidemic.

The WTS – KH is in the process of preparing an activity regarding the reinforcement of Lebanon’s Law 174  by holding a future workshop &/or round table discussion for key stakeholders in the country.  It is also active in drawing the strategy of the future work of the newly founded Coalition for Tobacco Control Advocacy in the country.

  1. 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 19 June: “Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking: The pressing need for risk communication through health warning labels” presented by Taghrid Asfar, MD, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine (USA) who highlighted the potential of health warning labels for waterpipe regulations and the development of the first set of health warning labels for waterpipe using an international Delphi study among expert.

-For the full webinar recording, please visit the following link (The presentation is being updated by the speaker – it shall be published soon).

Webinar #2 on July 24: “Toxicant content, physical properties and biological activity of waterpipe tobacco smoke and its tobacco-free alternatives” by Dr. Najat A. Saliba , Director, AUB Nature Conservation Center Professor, Chemistry Department (AUB) who reviewed the chemical, physical and biological properties of waterpipe smoke and their potential effect on health.

-For the full presentation, please visit the following link:

Webinar #3 on September 18: “Health effects of waterpipe Tobacco use” presented by Dr. Hassan Chami, Director of Respiratory Care Unit, Director of Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, Associate Professor of Medicine (AUB) who highlighted the harmful effects of WTS. In addition, he pointed the importance of public awareness to dispel the notion of nonharm of WTS to the smokers and those around them. .

-For the full presentation, please visit the following link to check the webinar details:



  1. WTS-KH working on School Awareness Sessions this Winter 2019-2020

The WTS-KH started discussions with local active NGOs on educational awareness presentations to youth in schools in Lebanon about the harms of WTS.. The WTS-KH is in the process of preparing a well-equipped user friendly and well-targeted educational material to be used for this purpose.

  1. WTS-KH website database is updated

The WTS-KH library database has a searchable electronic index of published, reliable resources. It has access to a wealth of useful research materials from academic journals, newspapers and is updated: The WTS online database can be found on the library page and searchable by subject of interest, Pub Year, Descriptors and Author.

-Please check the link below for more details:

  • Participation in International Congresses

During this period, Dr. Ghazi Zaatari, Director of WTS-KH, has participated in the following regional and international meetings regarding tobacco control use of WP as well as other products. :

  1. Workshop on WP Pictorial Health Warnings, Dead Sea, Jordan, on January 15-16, 2019
  2. Workshop on the Enforcement of Tobacco Control Legislation in EMR, in Cairo, Egypt, on April 8-10, 2019
  3. WHO/FCTC Workshop on E-cigarettes in Jordan, Amman, Jordan, on April 17, 2019
  4. First Middle East Lung Cancer Congress in Beirut, Lebanon, on June 21-22, 2019
  5. Regional Consultation on Regulating E-cigarettes & New Tobacco Products in Cairo, Egypt on  July 3-4, 2019
  6. Expert Meeting on taxation of Electronic Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS/ENNDS) in Geneva, Switzerland, on September 2-4, 2019
  7. Third Meeting of the Global Tobacco Regulations Forum (GTRF) in Bilthoven, The Netherlands, on September 11-12, 2019
  • Website & Social Media

To learn more about the mission WTS-KH and its activities, visit the following sites:


WTS Newsletter 2018