…Waiters at several coffee shops in the capital said the popularity of argileh increases Ã¢â‚¬Å“greatlyÃ¢â‚¬Â in Ramadan.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Demand on argileh triples in Ramadan. Some young people who come to the Ramadan tents order argileh just to try it,Ã¢â‚¬Â one waiter in a neighbourhood in west Amman told The Jordan Times.
But Bassem Hijjawi, director of the disease control department at the Health Ministry, expressed concern about the spike in demand for argileh, explaining that smoking the water pipe is more dangerous than smoking cigarettes.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The tobacco in cigarettes is treated and purified. But there are no specifications for tobacco used in argileh. There is no control over making argileh in tents as well,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Materials that are used to flavour the tobacco turn into chemicals when burned, and are harmful to health and might cause cancer,Ã¢â‚¬Â Hijjawi added.
Health experts say that smoking argileh for an hour-and-a-half is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes, while World Health Organisation studies have proven that some diseases, such as tuberculosis, can be transmitted by smoking argileh.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If more than one person smokes argileh from the same pipe, which is sometimes not changed for a long time, infectious diseases may be transmitted and infect others,Ã¢â‚¬Â warned Hijjawi.
He said the ministry will prohibit smoking in public places starting early next year, an ordinance that will be strictly enforced.
Recent studies show that Jordanians spent JD350 million on cigarettes last year as well as JD80 million on medicines to combat smoking-relating illnesses.
A study released last year by the Communication Partnership for Family Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, revealed that the number of male teenage smokers leaps from 6 per cent among 15-year olds to 32 per cent of 19-year olds.
There are no clear figures on the number of argileh smokers in the country. [source]
I am still unaccustomed to the heavy stench of smoke that fills the post-sunset air of Amman. At first I thought it was humidity, then I smelt the tobacco. Smoking is more than just another chemical addiction; it’s become embedded in our culture so to speak. Even parents encourage their kids to smoke in Jordan. People really need to lay off this crap. Our society is physically and mentally intoxicated as it is.
But then again, it’s 2007.
What good are the futile warnings and precautionary tales?
Some times I find myself asking that if at this point smokers aren’t aware of the imminent health hazards of smoking, maybe they’re just too dumb to live.
Maybe they’re not worth saving.
Maybe they’ve never seen someone die of lung cancer.