Serious Errors in WHO New Report on “Scientific Basis of Tobacco Product Regulation”

Dear Chairman, dear distinguished members of WHO TobReg (*)

I was glad to see that, further to my observations, TobReg now clearly stresses on the important differences between combustion and heating when dealing with such different tobacco use modes as cigarette and ““waterpipe”” (hookah, narghile, shisha). However, I wish to inform you that the new 112-page 2007 report on The scientific basis of tobacco product regulation”, the background of which was prepared by Gregory N Connolly [1], contains serious errors similar in their scope to those I had the occasion to highlight in the 2005 one on ““waterpipe”” tobacco smoking. 

Further to comments by both Drs Dybing and Henninfield, on the one hand, and the authors of the background paper (Drs Eissenberg, Shihadeh and Maziak - the latter’s actual co-authorship being revealed only 21 months later on the occasion of these experts’ collective comment), on the other, I had the opportunity again to confirm these errors. You may be interested in reading my two responses which have unfortunately suffered a certain delay in being published [2][3]. This said, let me point out that the errors in the new 2007 WHO TobReg report do not necessarily deal with ““waterpipe””.

You will remember that, before sending my critique to JNRBM, I informed you and suggested to review the report. You may refer, for instance, to Dr Mochizuki who is in possession of my correspondence since she officially  responded to my concerns in a Letter [5]. However, and in view of the further silence, I was therefore compelled to publish it and I was supported in this by many scholars in the world who let me know it was a sound and objective initiative.

Please be assured that, with this new report, it is, once again for me a mere question of ethics and integrity in science. Let me insist that these errors could have been avoided through direct collaboration and consultation. I am sorry for this situation.

Finally, please accept my New Year’s greetings. I sincerely hope that 2008 will be the year of a constructive dialogue between your organisation and I; for the sake of the world public health. 

Yours faithfully,

Dr Kamal T. Chaouachi. Paris,  24 Dec. 2007

Researcher and Consultant in Tobacco Control (Paris)



[1] WHO Study Group. The scientific basis of tobacco product regulation. World Health Organisation Technical  Report Series  2007;(945):1-112 (accessed 22 Dec 2007)

[2] Chaouachi K. To the Editor of Journal of Negative Results in Biomedicine. [critique of comment by declared (and non-declared) authors of WHO erroneous report (Thomas Eissenberg, Wasim Maziak, Alan Shihadeh, Alan Ward)]. Journal of Negative Results in BioMedicine 2007 (7 Nov)

[3] Chaouachi K. In Reply to Dr Henningfield and Dr Dybing's Comment [respectively member and chairman of WHO TobReg][on critique of WHO erroneous report]. Journal of Negative Results in BioMedicine 2007 (25 Aug)

[4] Mochizuki Y (Dir. Tobacco Free Initiative). Letter to Kamal Chaouachi. 28 Feb 2006.  

[5] Chaouachi K. A Critique of the WHO’s TobReg  “Advisory Note” entitled: “Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking: Health Effects, Research Needs and Recommended Actions by Regulators” (2005). Journal of Negative Results in Biomedicine. 2006; 5:17

(*) Erik DYBING (Norway; Chairman); David L. ASHLEY (USA); David BURNS (USA); Mirjana DJORDJEVIC (USA); S.K. HAMMOND (USA); Jack HENNINGFIELD (USA); Channing ROBERTSON (USA); N. GRAY (Australia);  Martin JARVIS (United Kindom); K. Srinath REDDY (India); Ghazi ZAATARI (Lebanon).


Competing Interests: No competing interests. I was involved from Spring to Autumn 2004 in the development of a no-carbon monoxide narghile prototype (harm reduction objective). I signed away all my past and future rights (total relinquishment, incl. patent rights) on June 15, 2005 (legally certified), before the potential commercial exploitation of the product. From that date, I have not had anymore any relation of any sort with the patent, even if the US patent (Young&Thompson/USA) may still mention my name on the internet. I have received only but a lump sum for my participation in this project. Furthermore, I declare that, in the course of my 10-year research work on this issue, I have never received funding neither from pharmaceutical companies nor from the tobacco industry.