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Objectives: Waterpipe or hookah smoking has grown considerably in popularity over the past two decades; however, consumers often have misconceptions regarding this practice. This study aimed to determine common beliefs related to waterpipe smoking among Turkmen in Iran. Methods: This qualitative study was conducted between February and June 2018 in Golestan Province, Iran, utilising data from a previously published study. A total of 26 male Turkmen waterpipe smokers of different ages, occupations and education levels underwent in-depth semi-structured interviews. A content analysis of beliefs regarding waterpipe smoking was performed. Results: Five categories of beliefs were extracted during the content analysis, including beliefs related to addiction, health-related beliefs, preferential beliefs for waterpipe versus cigarette smoking, beliefs related to the social function of waterpipe smoking and beliefs attributed to waterpipe smoking. Several misconceptions were identified, including the idea that waterpipe smoking was not addictive, prevented the use of other more dangerous drugs (i.e. cannabis and opium) and was not as harmful as cigarette smoking. Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that Turkmen in Iran hold several misconceptions regarding the use of waterpipe smoking. Educational programmes are essential to correct such misconceptions and to control the prevalence of this habit in Iran.
Keywords: Water Pipe Smoking; Addictive Behaviors; Health-Related Behaviors; Qualitative Research; Tobacco Use Cessation; Iran.