August 15, 2010 - A form of tobacco use that is described by experts as being worse than cigarette addiction is catching on fast in the cash-rich Qatari community. Hounded by strident anti-smoking campaigns, cigarette smokers are gradually switching to Sheesha (hubble-bubble, Shisha, Hookah, Narghile, Waterpipe). With more youngsters and women taking to sheesha smoking, experts like Dr. Ahmad al-Mulla, the director of the stop smoking clinic in Doha - the capital of Qatar, warn the practice is no less harmful than cigarette smoking. Also, England - smoking a shisha pipe just as bad as smoking tobacco..
And the young, not only men but increasingly women, are falling prey to what are money-spinning rackets. It is no secret that come Ramadan and Sheesha smoking becomes a fad among Qatari men and women alike. The irony is that while the government is curbing cigarette smoking and has passed stringent laws banning it in public places, cafes offering Sheesha drags are being encouraged by the authorities.
Community sources say that it is again ironical that while public health authorities have been crying foul about cigarette smoking and the entire focus of their anti-smoking campaign has been on cigarettes and tobacco chewing, not much is being said by the campaigners about the government encouraging Sheesha cafes in Souq Waqif and in the Cultural Village as well as in Ramadan tents.
At a symposium on anti-smoking held by the Supreme Council of Health recently, it has been pointed out that 36 percent of adults in the country are smokers but nothing was said of Sheesha and its rapidly growing addiction. (Qatar - 40% of adults and 22% of teens smoke..)
Another example of how the government is encouraging the dangerous trend of Sheesha smoking is that civic authorities have no qualms about granting permission to star hotels to set up Ramadan tents and offer Sheesha smoking as a major attraction. The tobacco used in Sheesha comes in different flavours. The most popular one in Qatar is the one with the grape flavour. It is imported from the UAE (United Arab Emirates).
While the government has stopped issuing new licences for Sheesha joints, opening such “fancy” outlets in the Cultural Village or Souq Waqif is permitted, even encouraged. Due to the lucrative profits Sheesha joints can make, old commercial registrations for Sheesha cafes are up for grabs for anything between QR200,000 (54,922.42 USD) and QR300,000 (82,383.63 USD).
Enquiries reveal that on average a patron spends a minimum of between QR100 (27.46 USD) and QR150 (41.19 USD) in one sitting in a Sheesha café ordering tea, coffee, water and snacks while dragging away at the hubble-bubble, also known as water pipe.
Thus, each Sheesha café makes no less than between QR10,000 (2,745.74 USD) and QR15,000 (4,118.62 USD) a day on average, say sources. A café’s income goes up considerably during major regional or international soccer fixtures, which is shown on television sets.
Reference: More take to Sheesha by MOBIN PANDIT, The Peninsula Qatar, 8/9/2010.
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