Thursday, March 1, 2012

up in smoke

Shisha Cafe's in Arab countries it's as ubiquitous as McDonald and Starbucks is to the US. It is a popular place for social gatherings where people can sit and watch sporting events, talk, have coffee and shisha.

Before it had seemed odd to me how people flock to cafes and sit for hours smoking shisha (sometimes more that eating or having a drink) but eventually I learned that is is more that just a habit (as with cigarette smoking) but a way of life because though the concept of shisha or waterpipe is thought to have originated in India, it is has been integrated in the Arab culture and tradition and is almost always served during gatherings be it small and simple or big and grand.

While browsing the net this evening, something caught my attention.
According to Yahoo Maktoob news:

The Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) has revealed it is working alongside the Municipality to ban to sale of shisha in cafes in residential areas.

Cafes will be forced to stop offering the service, or close. The DED wants to ensure no shisha will be served in residential areas or near schools and mosques.

“The new rules will be issued next month before they are enforced in the following months…we are taking these measures after we received many complaints from people in residential areas,” said Mohammed Al Saadi, director of the trade registration section at DED.

He added: “We have conducted a study showing the harmful effects of shisha cafes on residents…it showed there is a need to restructure licences for those cafes in residential areas and near mosques and schools…we will of course take into consideration the interests of investors and owners of those cafes but they have to abide by new rules relating to the environment and public health."

Cafes intending to serve shisha will then need to seek a licence from the DED and the Municipality.

Having known a few people who love their shisha, I wonder how people would react to this bit of news...

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