Fatal trend of
Sheesha Smoking

The Sheeshah smoking is being aggressively promoted on a large scale. Restaurants, hotels and other outlets have commercialized it, making it a substantial money earning business. Young people including teenagers are being enamored to this vice, employing unethical tactics. There is an aggressive propaganda done by the immoral industry and commercial concerns, claiming that the Sheeshah smoking is harmless. One of the writer in an English newspaper had the audacity to claim that sheeshah smoking(hookah) is a part of our culture and the restriction on its use is an attack on our personal liberties/culture.

It is worthwhile to note that one hour Sheeshah smoking entails inhalation of 200 puffs while cigarette smoking about 20 puffs - a stark difference. Qualitatively the hazard of sheeshah smoking are the same as of tobacco smoking like cancers involving all the organs, heart attacks, strokes, kidney, lung, eyes damages etc. But quantitatively on a larger scale. There are primary, secondary and tertiary smoking hazards- the tertiary hazards occur due to the residual products deposited in the surroundings environment, damaging organs for prolonged periods.

There is a law in the country prohibiting the abuse of tobacco in the public places and on its illegitimate promotion. Unfortunately there is no real rule of law in Pakistan, laws are not implemented - many rulers, politicians and bureaucrats are seen smoking with impunity in public places. Likewise liquor is openly sold by prominent hotels/restaurants to everyone including teenagers without permit.

The miseries accrued and the money spent on treating diseases due to tobacco abuse far exceed the revenue, the Govt. collects. Socially and economically, the country is immensely damaged while in the world the trend in smoking has decreased considerably due to the effective preventive measures by their Governments while in Pakistan it is rising due to lack of preventive measures.

 Prof. Emeritus Mahmud Ahmad Akhtar
Former Surgeon General/ DGMS (IS), Pakistan Army
Rawalpindi - Pakistan.

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