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Sheesha smoking mania grips youth in Lahore

sheeshasmokeBank Square in Model Town safe haven for Sheesha smokers

Legal action against Sheesha smoking impossible, says Rana Sana

Nasir Butt

LAHORE: Sheesha smoking, a modern way of addiction, is spreading among youngsters in the provincial capital like a jungle fire and this latest menace rapidly infecting the school and college students of upper class.

Sheesha houses have been established in the posh localities of the city during the last 4 to 5 years and this mushroom growth of modern smoking dens is attracting the youths and the number of Sheesha Houses has increased massively.

The most disgusting aspect of this awful practice is that smoking is on the rise among young adults under the very nose of authorities, but steps are being taken to control the stretch of Sheesha smoking to other areas.

Children below 18 who can’t directly buy cigarettes off the shelf, throng the ‘Sheesha Houses’ spread across the city including Model Town, Johar Town, Board of Revenue Society, Defence Housing Authority, Gulberg, Tech Society and some other upper class restaurants, hotels and clubs to have a puff or two.

An influx of vehicles filled with teenagers, boys and girls, can be observed standing outside Sheesha Houses in the evening that continued till late at night. It has been a practice that a large number of school and college students of both genders belonging to under-18 age group hang out the said Sheesha houses for smoking as they don’t face any hurdle here to satiate their desire.

An eyewitness, ACCA student of a local college, claimed that he has seen students of class 7th and 8th having Sheesha smoking and even drugs in one of such Sheesha houses. “Once I went to a Sheesha House at Bank Square area in Model Town around lunch time and I saw 10 to 15 school girls smoking and enjoying sheesha”, he claimed.

Another social worker Munir Khan who visited more than 5 Sheesha Houses in Model Town, Johar Town, Tech Society, DHA and M M Alam road Gulberg told this scribe that he talked to a group of teen-agers sitting in a Sheesha House and they told him that their parents were unaware about water pipe smoking habit and if they knew, they would have no objection, he added.

Sheesha, traditionally known as hookah was considered to be an integral part of rural south Asia. One can still picture a shaded spot under a tree in rural Pakistan where three or four elderly folks sit on a Charpai and take turns in sucking tobacco from the contraption which is known as a water pipe. Even a decade ago, one could not have imagined that this rural derelict will become a fashionable pastime. While latest ‘Sheesha’ means “flavoured water pipe smoking” and different Sheesha cafe offer a mixture of crude types of tobacco fermented with molasses and fruits and the sweet odour of fruits conceals the natural smell of tobacco’s tar and nicotine.

Social organizations in the town while expressing concerns at the aftereffects of Sheesha smoking said that it could cause diseases like cancer or other ailments. Shahla, an NGO worker, alleged that as the influential people were running Sheesha houses therefore the authorities were unable to take action. People termed the increased use of water pipe smoking among the most vulnerable groups as alarming and urged a complete ban on Sheesha houses and smoking.

She said that Sheesha should be subjected to the same regulations as cigarettes and other tobacco products and it should contain health warnings. She added that the restaurants should inform their clients of the actual contents of Sheesha and media should be involved in creating awareness against the hazards of Sheesha smoking.

Awareness sessions against the hazards of Sheesha smoking and other substance abuses should be made a regular feature in all educational institutions, she said and added that surveys should be conducted to assess the extent of the problem and its prevalence in our society.

When The Post talked with Punjab Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah about imposing restriction on Sheesha smoking, he said that presently it was not an unlawful act and considered as a type of smoking and legal action could not taken against the Sheesha Houses being run in the city until the assembly introduced a law to restrict this practice.

It is notable here that a recent World Health Organization says, tobacco is one of the most addictive substances available in the world and the life spans of tobacco users can be cut down by 15 to 20 years.

6 thoughts on “Sheesha smoking mania grips youth in Lahore”

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  2. According to recent researches it has been proved that sheesha smoking brings the same risks as smoking cigarettes. It can cause mouth cancer, lung cancer, cancer of food pipe, chronic obstructive airway disease, asthma and can also lead to pnumonia, anxiety and depression. (and much more).
    Sheesha smoke contains tobacco the flavor of which is altered by varios fermentation processes. The smoke contains carbon monoxide, arsenic, lead, selenium, tar….just to name very few.
    The carbon plasma nicotine oxide contained in the smoke is an environmental poison.
    So to cut it short, it is a very unhealthy practice to smoke sheesha.
    The rest is in your hands..!!!!

  3. Sheesha smoking should not ban entirely because all the sheesha smokers automatically will starting smoking which is even more dangerous.I did’nt agree with the statement that it will cause mouth or lung cancers because i did’nt see or heard any patient of sheesha smokers about any some extent i agree that there should be check and balances on the sheesha lounges..Sheesha smoking is not the main issue.the main issue is the use of drugs.without drugs sheesha is not harmfull..

    Owners of private medical and dental colleges in Pakistan are running their institutions without any law, principles, rules, regulations and ethics.
    They have established their own rules and regulations (sharing monetary benefits with their professional regulatory authorities like Pakistan Medical & Dental Council (PMDC)

    They have their own ethics (based on so called officially allowed schemes like self finance scheme, foreign seats, Pakistan health/medical foundation scheme, welfare trust scheme etc, etc)

    You personally can visit and observe deficiencies in their infrastructure, teaching faculty, teaching hospitals attached with Hamdard College of Medicine and Dentistry Karachi, Sir Syed College of Medical Sciences for girls Karachi, International Medical College Abbottabad, Liaquat College of Medicine and Dentistry Karachi, University Medical College Faisalabad, Fatima Jinnah Dental College Karachi, Isra Medical University Hyderabad, Independent Medical College Faisalabad, Jinnah Medical College Peshawar, Multan Medical College Multan, University Medical College Lahore, Sharif City Medical College Lahore, Ziaudin Medical University Karachi, Baqai Medical University Karachi, Lahore Medical College Lahore, Frontier Medical College Abbottabad, Gandhara University Peshawar, Central Park Medical and Dental College Lahore, Altamash College of Dentistry Karachi.
    See, look, observe and perceive dramatization of owners of these medical and dental institutions.

    Their folk, famous but fake SLANG is that “we have established and we are running these institutions on ‘no profit no loss’ BASIS”, but their virtual goal is to generate money (nothing else).
    They are not alone to cheat parents of students getting admission in MBBS and BDS courses, but higher authorities of health department, government of Pakistan, PM&DC, Vice Chancellors of universities with which they are affiliated are their hand shakers. They all are in other words SHARE-HOLDERS
    Owners of these institutions and officers concerned with PM&DC (concerned regulatory authority) are usually attached with same profession (MEDICAL PROFESSION), so both parties are traditionally (so called ethically) are responsible to cooperate with each other. The only victimized party is students and their parents.
    On the time of PMDC official visit these institutes hire teaching faculty on very attractive salary package, share equipments, technically skill paramedical staff, required monetary funds with each other and after the PMDC visit, salary of teaching faculty is reduced remarkably or harassed them so that they leave medical college and join another institute, faculty hired from public sector leave that private institution and rejoin their own public sector institution from which they came (had got leave without pay) due to attractive salary package of private institutions. Equipment, skilled paramedical staff and monetary fund are sent back to concerned parties. In this case academic study, professional training of MBBS and BDS students is surely suffered/compromised.

    Some of the private medical/dental colleges have following deficiencies:
    1) Their senior faculty {Professor, Associate Professors, and Assistant Professors) are non-medical persons (having PhD degree but no medical basic degree (MBBS) at all. Salary of these non-medical teachers is much less than medical persons.
    2) Many of the senior faculty members are above the age of 70 years but are still working in these private institutes which is against the PMDC rules.
    3) Many Professors, Associate and Assistant Professors are working in these institutes getting leave from government sector which is again rule breaking attitude as directed by PMDC written regulations.
    4) In some institutes faculty members above the age of 70 years have left the HOD-ship but they are still working as Principals, which is another PMDC rules regulations breaking behavior.
    5) Some institutes have no infrastructure at all but they are recognized by PMDC because they showed so called artificial infrastructure on 1st, 2nd, 3rd…so forth visit of PMDC team and got reorganization for 5 years.
    6) Some institutes have no teaching hospital which can train 100 MBBS students. They use to claim to have teaching hospital but you can observe deficiency in these teaching hospitals regarding number of beds, patients, teaching faculty, paramedical staff and equipments.
    Where is PMDC, Health department, Government of Pakistan, Supreme Court and other concerned authorities of provincial governments?
    Is there any law enforcement agency which can observe these deficiencies in these institutions to save rights of medical/dental undergraduate students and their parent’s money and true dreams?

    DR. MANZOOR A. MALIK (Lahore, Pakistan)

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