Why Smoking Sheesha Should be Banned

Frequent sheesha (hookah, waterpipe) smoking can have serious effects to your health.

Sheesha is a type of intoxicant. It is very dangerous and harmful for your health. According to a recent study, smoking sheesha creates serious health risks for teenagers. It causes lungs cancer, throat cancer and other serious disease associated with the heart.

Sheesha use is prevalent in Pakistan especially among the youth. This habit is common in the 17-25 age group, with 65 percent smokers being male. Often students between the ages of 15-18 smoke sheesha during school.

One puff of sheesha contains more than 4,800 active chemicals. Many of these chemicals are known to cause mouth and lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory and other diseases. According to research from the World Health Organization, the volume of smoke inhaled in an hour-long sheesha session is estimated to be the equivalent of smoking between 100 and 200 cigarettes. Second-hand smoke also puts pregnant women, babies, children and the elderly are at risk.

Sheesha has become a fashion in Pakistan at public places; it comes in many flavors such as lemon, strawberry, orange, apple, honey and cherry to enhance the smoking pleasure as compared to cigarette smoking. Unlike cigarettes, sheesha smoking is a communal activity which is very common in our society and used in family functions.

Smoking is banned at public spots, hotels, bus terminals, railway stations, cars, parks, hospitals and other recreational places. Despite the government issuing a ban on sheesha at public places, the practice is in full swing in some cafes and restaurants in Islamabad.

The cafes established at recreational places like Daman e Koh, Pir Sohawa, Rawal Lake, Mall Road, Murree and in some posh sectors like I-8, F-10 and F-11 are still offering sheesha upon the request of their customers. The district administration had last year launched a campaign against sheesha smoking centers and informed all restaurant owners that strict action would be taken against violators.

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As a result of these health hazards, youth from across the world should refrain from partaking in this dangerous activity.

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Batool Fatima is pursuing a BS in Education at the University of Karachi.