Hukka : A Growing Trend

By: Ahmed Raza

Hookah was famous only in village, but now over the past few years; hookah has penetrated urban space and gained enormous popularity among youth.

With­out knowing the harmful effects, youth is using hukka because they think it is a fashion.

Wikipedia reads its definition as “Hookah (hukka or Huqqa) also known as water-pipe, is whether a single or multi-stemmed windshield wonder used to smoke flavored tobacco called Sheesha in which the smoke is passed through a water basin (often glass based) before inhalation.

Smoking Sheesha or hukka has been a popular activity at the central Asia for more than thousand years, Cyril Elgood writes “it was Abul-Fateh Gilani, a Persian physician at the Indian court of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, who "first passed the smoke of tobacco through a small bowl of water to purify and cool the smoke and thus invented the hubble-bubble or hukka."

Hukka smoking seems fashionable; but it is an innovative approach of the tobacco industry to make the youth addicted to tobacco. Statistics show that over the last few years, Sheesha points are increasing in major cities of Pakistan.

A report in Daily Times, says, “a Sheesha smoker inhales tobacco in an hour is equal up to 100 cigarettes which is not even consumed by a chain smoker.”

According to WHO’s reports, fruit flavors disguise the harmful tobacco in sheesha, while sharing of mouthpiece can spread diseases like TB and Oral herpes. Sheesha tobacco contains highly addictive nicotine and may lead to lung Cancer.

The Sindh Government has banned Sheesha smoking but the directive has not been implemented in the streets of Hyderabad as yet.

Apart from small sheesha points, many of the hotels and restaurants are running Sheesha with

comparatively higher prices than that of small sheesha points which charge 200-400 for an hour, while

the restaurants in posh parts of the city charging from 500 to 700 per hour.

As per Prohibition Smoking Ordinance 2002, tobacco is prohibited for teenagers, as well as it is restricted at local places including hotels and restaurants, but it had been chiefly violated.

The owners of these sheesha points are openly running harmful business under the umbrella of police and other concerned authorities.