In Jordan, a hookah ban has recently been enforced and many users of the water pipes have been furious ever since. In this country, tobacco users are said to consume tobacco products worth $1billion every year.
Only Enforced Now
It was a decision achieved based on the 2008, which was not enforced previously. Jordan government just announced that by the end of this year 2014, all the licenses of over 5,000 establishments serving hookahs would be invalidated.
Grave Consequences Ahead
This hookah ban announcement was received with fury by the upset smokers and owners of cafes and restaurants. They said that the ban will affect not only their lifestyle. It will also impact the $1.5 billion worth of industry and cause 12,000 people to lose their jobs.
Emran Torsha is a café manager who said that the decision would negatively impact them aside from thousands of people who would be unemployed soon. Torsha’s Jafra café located in the central Amman area provides service to roughly 2,000 customers every day. Half of these customers are smokers.
The government should not decide this way, he said. A lot of people, young and old, men and women are all smoking hookah while having snacks and drinks or listening to music. He asked what they would do with the customers who go to the café to ease their stress and pressures through hookah smoking if they can no longer offer the service legally.
Gradual Ban Implementation
Nidal Qatamin, the Tourism Minister, insisted on a gradual enforcement of the hookah ban as business interests are considered.
The Health Minister Ali Hiasat was, however, unyielding and pushed for the total annihilation of hookah smoking in Jordan by the end of this year. He added that the government will not go back on its decision.
In Amman, the anti-smoking law began implementation in 2010. This implementation was also delayed because the law was passed two years ago. Despite this, many are still ignoring the law because they still continue to smoke in government buildings, in hospitals, schools and other public places.
The law sated that ay convicted violator will be imprisoned for one month or will pay a fine of $21-35. If the violator smoked in kindergartens, the imprisonment will be for 6 months and the fine will be increased to $1400.
Other Things Must Be Banned
According to Torsha, the government needs to solve problems on waste, industrial and vehicle pollution if it really wishes to preserve the health of public. Hookah is called in many alternative names like shisha, arghila and narghile. They come in many fruity flavors that health experts warned to cause many users to forget that it is tobacco they are inhaling. Health experts also added that hookah smoking is even more harmful because it is longer to use than cigarette.
The 36 years old privately-owned company employee Wasim Yusef asked what alternative they have if hookahs are already banned. Yusef enjoys smoking arghila at Jafra with his friends. He said that hookah smoking has become part of the tradition and he said that a ban is wrong.
Hookah Smoking In Jordan
Hookah is cheap and popular in Jordan. In fact, numerous delivery companies that supply water pipes have sprouted in the kingdom.
At cafes and restaurants, the price for smokes is $4. If you want water pipe that you can use at home, you can have it for only $11.
About one half of the 7 million people population in Jordan is smokers. There are about 5,000cancer cases each year in the country and 40% of them are due to smoking, said King Hussein Cancer Center’s Firas Hawwari. Hawwari added that fighting smoking is a strategic decision for the country and should not be delayed. Tobacco-Free Jordan society head Faten Hanaia called the ban a first step in smoking prevention on all public places.
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