The Knowledge Hub on waterpipes launched in Beirut as the conference on waterpipe tobacco research unfolds

WHO FCTC Secretariat

The American University of Beirut (AUB) hosted the Third International Conference on Waterpipe Smoking Research on "translating waterpipe tobacco smoking research evidence into practice, policy and regulation" and its satellite meetings, from 9 to 11 November 2017 in its premises in Beirut.

More than 50 researchers and experts from 13 countries gathered to exchange the latest research on waterpipes and discuss how such research can turn into policies and influence global decision making processes.

Parties' implementation reports and other evidences show that waterpipe tobacco use is on the rise, especially among the young who may even prefer it to cigarettes. Waterpipe use is also currently spreading beyond the Eastern Mediterranean region, where there is strong tradition of using it.

As part of the programme of the meeting, AUB organized a special event to launch the new Convention Secretariat's knowledge Hub on waterpipes. The Memorandum of Understanding that initiated the hub in January 2016 was signed by Dr Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva Head of WHO FCTC Secretariat and Dr. Fadlo Khuri AUB president.

WHO FCTC Secretariat

The Knowledge Hub on waterpipes will join the other FCTC hubs in assisting Parties to strengthen their implementation in specific areas of the Convention. The hub will carry out research, educational programmes targeted at various stakeholders, and information dissemination in cooperation with the Convention Secretariat and in line with the relevant decisions of the Conference of the Parties. The hub will also serve as a useful resource for the sessions of the Conference of the Parties, the Governing Body of the Convention, and its subsidiary bodies where relevant.

Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Tibor Szilagyi, Team Leader on Reporting and Knowledge Management at the Convention Secretariat said:

"We at the WHO FCTC Secretariat are delighted to join hands with the AUB and help this project to become a reality. It allows the whole world to benefit from the expertise that AUB has developed over many years in this area. We are grateful to Dr Fadlo Khouri, who has devoted his life to fight cancer, for his leadership and support for this project."

The conference concluded with some observations and recommendations that could be taken forward by the Knowledge Hub. The meeting also contributed to increase the awareness of the research community on the need to turn research findings into policy proposals and recommendations, and eventually policies and regulations, thus impacting on the health of populations.