Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
SUNDAY, 20 APR 2014
06:01 AM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
22 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Lifestyle
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Jordan nargileh ban sparks public outcry
Agence France Presse
A worker perforates tin foil to cover the tobaco as he prepares a water pipe for a client at a cafe in the Jordanian capital Amman on February 3, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/KHALIL MAZRAAWI)
A worker perforates tin foil to cover the tobaco as he prepares a water pipe for a client at a cafe in the Jordanian capital Amman on February 3, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/KHALIL MAZRAAWI)
A+ A-

AMMAN: There’s no smoke without ire: A ban on water pipes in restaurants and cafes has caused uproar in Jordan where $1 billion worth of tobacco goes up in smoke every year.

Under a decision based on a 2008 law that was not previously enforced, the government has announced that by the end of 2014 the licenses of more than 5,000 establishments that serve nargileh will be revoked.

Furious smokers and cafe owners say the move will affect their lifestyle and a $1.5 billion industry, jeopardizing the jobs of 12,000 people.

“This decision will definitely have a negative impact on us and mean thousands of people lose their jobs,” cafe manager Emran Torsha said.

His popular Jafra cafe in central Amman serves around 2,000 customers daily, half of them smokers.

“The government should not make decisions this way,” Torsha said as dozens of men and women, young and old, smoked nargileh with their drinks and snacks and listened to live music.

“What should we do with customers who come here to escape from life’s daily pressures?”

Tourism Minister Nidal Qatamin has urged “a gradual implementation of the ban, taking business interests into consideration.”

But Health Minister Ali Hiasat is adamant, vowing that Jordan will be free of nargileh smoking by the end of 2014.

“The government will not go back on this decision,” Hiasat said.

Amman began enforcing the anti-smoking law in 2010, two years after it entered the statute books.

But it was still widely ignored – including in government buildings and in public places such as hospitals and schools.

Under the legislation, convicted violators face up to a month in jail or a fine of between $21 and $35.

Tougher penalties can hit people who smoke in kindergartens: They face imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of $1,400.

“If the government wants to preserve public health, it should find a solution to vehicle, industrial and waste pollution,” Torsha said, adding that Jafra’s nargileh license expires in February.

Health experts warn that the many fruity flavors of nargileh can make users forget they are inhaling tobacco. They also say that since it takes longer to smoke than a cigarette, nargileh is even more dangerous.

“What is the substitute for us after the government banned nargileh? Where should we go?” asked Wasim Yusef, a 36-year-old employee at a privately owned firm, as he smoked at Jafra with friends.

“Smoking nargileh has become a tradition. It’s my only entertainment. I think the ban is wrong – it should be reconsidered.”

Smoking nargileh is both popular and cheap in Jordan, where delivery companies supplying water pipes have sprung up across the kingdom.

Prices for a smoke at cafes and restaurants start from $4, while a water pipe can be bought for home use from around $11.

Officials are concerned about the effect of smoking in a country where nearly half of the population of 7 million indulge in tobacco.

“Every year, a total of 5,000 cancer cases are registered in Jordan. Around 40 percent of these are related to smoking,” said Firas Hawwari of the King Hussein Cancer Center. “Fighting smoking has become a strategic decision for Jordan. It should be implemented without any delay.”

Faten Hanaia, who heads the Tobacco-Free Jordan society, agreed, calling the ban “a first step toward preventing smoking in all public places, and we know this takes time.”

Other countries in the region have banned smoking in public areas, but again many people just ignore the rules.

“I don’t understand this government decision,” Amal Nasser, a 40-year-old nonsmoker, told AFP at a cafe in western Amman.

“I think banning nargileh is the least of our worries. There are other priorities. For example, we need pavements, decent roads, parks and much more.

“How about enforcing the smoking ban for real in government buildings?” she suggested.

“I don’t think there’s a pressing demand in Jordan to ban nargileh. If people want to blow smoke in other people’s faces in an nargileh place, let them do it.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 06, 2014, on page 13.
Home Lifestyle
 
     
 
Nargileh / hookah / narguileh / water pipe / Jordan
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Story Summary
AMMAN: There's no smoke without ire: A ban on water pipes in restaurants and cafes has caused uproar in Jordan where $1 billion worth of tobacco goes up in smoke every year.

Under a decision based on a 2008 law that was not previously enforced, the government has announced that by the end of 2014 the licenses of more than 5,000 establishments that serve nargileh will be revoked.

"This decision will definitely have a negative impact on us and mean thousands of people lose their jobs," cafe manager Emran Torsha said.

His popular Jafra cafe in central Amman serves around 2,000 customers daily, half of them smokers.

Health Minister Ali Hiasat is adamant, vowing that Jordan will be free of nargileh smoking by the end of 2014 .

Smoking nargileh is both popular and cheap in Jordan, where delivery companies supplying water pipes have sprung up across the kingdom.
Entities
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Saturday April 19, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Why Israeli-Palestinian talks fail
Michael Young
Michael Young
Why confuse gibberish with knowledge?
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
Echoes of 1914 characterize the Ukraine crisis
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS