How Hookah is Defying Tobacco Control

I haven’t given this post a title yet, and I might forget to do so. It is likely to ramble a bit.

Last time I went to Mallorca on holiday (and I shall be there again in a few days time), I noticed that a few bars had hookah paraphernalia on some tables outdoors. You need to think about that phenomenon a little. Mostly, they just sat there unused, but I saw some youths using them. When I say youths, I mean 20 0r 30 year-olds. And they were doing so in the full view of children. Had the law permitted the hookahs indoors, rather than forcing them to be outdoors, children would not normally see them. It is a bit like passing a law which permits the indulgence in sex only in the full view of children or in totally private, indoor places. Either or. Either indoors in private, or outdoors in the full view of children. Is that not a reasonable précis of smoking bans indoors? If the sighting of smoking by children was so important, would it not make more sense to ban smoking outdoors rather than indoors? Ventilation of indoor smoking places does not have to be ferocious. My favourite bar in Mallorca has a small extractor fan near the door. Before the smoking ban, there was a no smoking area at the far end of the pub away from the extractor fan. Thus, the fan drew any smoke in the air away from non-smokers. In any case, no one who went into that pub ever complained about smoking. Why should they? The smoke rose up into the air and was extracted from near the ceiling. Frankly, I think that pubs in the UK have extractor fans which are far too powerful. They can suck out all the warm air in a giffy and replace it with cold air. Then the central heating cannot cope. It would make sense for such places to have several fans of different powers.

But why should we expect such invention and sense? We do not even have bidets normally, to wash our bums after shitting. That is SO European. Even the Romans in Britain, 2000 years ago, had the means for the soldiers to wash their bums after shitting. They used sponges on sticks.

Has any reader ever heard of ‘golfers arse’? The phrase refers to horrible pain in the anus area due to chapping as a result of walking some four or five miles. The bum does not have to be shitty. It is enough for sufferers to a bit sweaty and hot. The rubbing together of bum cheeks create friction, which becomes especially painful in the presence of sweat.

Erm… That was an aside.

What has been happening in Magalluf recently is that more and more bars have hookah paraphernalia in open display on tables outdoors. I have not seen them being used very often, but I have seen them being used occasionally by groups of youths. By ‘youths’ I mean 20 or 30 year olds.

‘Unintended Consequences’.

The Tobacco Control Industry/Empire has successfully changed smoking from an every-day experience to an esoteric pleasure which might be associated with harems and brothels of old. Personally, I would love to frequent such a place of pleasure, but it is frowned upon and almost certainly illicit and taxed to the n-th degree. In any case, I am far too old. But I really must have a go at this hookah thing. I shall have to be brave and ask a group of these youths if I can indulge at their expense. I suppose that, if I give them €5 for their trouble, they would not object. I hate being ignorant. I need to know.

So the enjoyment of hookah tobacco is becoming specific to time and place. Most youths might not smoke cigs daily, but might indulge in hookah at their leisure. I suppose that it is like enjoying a meal, or a sexual encounter or a pint of beer.

What is important is that The People are announcing their displeasure with authoritarianism.  They do so by inventing other ways of circumventing the rules and regulations. They assert their individuality and thereby reject totalitarian, fascist agendas.

It is completely beyond my comprehension that Tories can accept EU tyranny, or that Labour is happy with such blatant corruption.

It blows my mind.

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9 Responses to “How Hookah is Defying Tobacco Control”

  1. Timothy Goodacre Says:

    A little bit of what you fancy does you good Junican !

  2. Pamela Webb Says:

    I’ve got a hookah, I brought it b back from Egypt, it’s a sod to light and needs special tobacco, but it’s worth It to see the look on some people’s faces

  3. garyk30 Says:

    Have at it, age is a quality of the heart and mind as well as the rest of the body.

    • junican Says:

      Tim, Pam, Gary.
      There’s a lot to be said about the idea of ‘hookah at home’. I don’t mean to replace cigs; I mean, to add something special. Something to savour along with a fine wine or a brandy, or even a glass of port.
      Is that not a wonderful example of ‘unintended consequences’? Because of bans, we learn to appreciate fine tobacco more.

  4. nisakiman Says:

    Shisha / nargileh / hookah whatever you want to call them (depending which country you’re in) are quite delightful. It is such a smooth smoke, and the tobacco is invariably flavoured with fruits and spices.

    You should just go into one of the shisha bars and order one, Junican. They will (or at least, should) bring it to your table, filled, and light it for you. They have detachable plastic mouthpieces, and you will be provided with a fresh one to use after the pipe has been lit. Order a Turkish coffee, a brandy and sit back and relax. There’s nothing quite like it. I don’t know how much they’re likely to cost in Spain, but when I was in Istanbul a year or so ago, I was paying about €8. Seems like quite a lot, but it lasts maybe an hour, and I was happy to pay the price, it was so good. It’s a whole different smoking experience, and comes highly recommended.

    Surprisingly, when I was in Hanoi (Vietnam) last year, I saw people smoking shisha outside a few cafés. And the oddest part of it was that the people I saw smoking them tended to be (from the way they were dressed) small groups of young professional women from the upper classes. As an aside, they all seemed to be drop-dead gorgeous, too! Shisha has become truly international. 🙂

    On the subject of bidets, I spend quite a lot of time in Thailand (my wife is Thai), and there they have what is fondly known as the ‘bum gun’. It’s just like a small shower head with a trigger that’s plumbed in next to the loo, and after you’ve done your business, you just take the bum gun, point it in the right direction and pull the trigger. Simple, effective and hygienic. I brought some back with me and plumbed them in next to my loos here. Couldn’t live without them.

    • junican Says:

      I must see what is going on when I get there. It would not surprise me one bit if the provision of hookah paraphernalia has spread into other bars. I hope that my favourite bar has a couple. If so, then I’ll definitely try it. Otherwise, it will depend upon the circumstances.

      I do not understand why Englishmen, historically, have accepted dirty bums as normal. The Roman soldiers in Britain expected to be able to wash their bums after a shit. After a shit, your bum is dirtier than your face will ever be, and yet we have no history of bum washing, but plenty history of face cleansing.
      Weird.

  5. Roberto Says:

    Junican: you should try the “hooka”, you will love it. Smoking the water pipe (shisha, hooka or narghile) is one of my most cherished pleasures. The effect of filtering the smoke through the water is very soothing and unique among all forms of tobacco smoking. Smoking the water pipe (or a regular pipe or a Churchill cigar) are different experiences from smoking cigarettes: the “ritual” takes a long time and to be enjoyable it MUST be done at a slow pace. It is not unusual for me to take up to two hours to smoke a large bowl pipe or a Churchill cigar and even longer in a hooka session.

    I bought my first water pipe in Istambul in 1990 and bought a second one in Jerusalem in 1997. I noticed that in the middle east smoking the narghile is a very important part of everyday socialisation for folks from all walks of life. In those days ot was difficult to get the supplies here in Mexico (even in the USA). Nowadays you can buy these pipes (and their supplies) almost everywhere, and they seem to be popular mostly among younger folks. Last November in a sea resort near Cancun the hotel had a large indoor room for hooka smoking, offering a large selection of flavors with and without nicotine. The hooka room room was never packed but had sufficient patrons to keep going.

    As long as the water pipe was a sort of “exotic” habit practiced only by middle eastern folk, the Tobacco Control “life saving” paladins mostly ignored it. But once it became popular with western youngsters in the last 10 years, the controllers started spreading fear and disinformation. As we all know, this is “the cheeeeeldreeeen sindrome”, since TC regards the 17-21 year old as “children” that must be saved from the demonic substance.

    Since I particularly love the water pipe, I am very angry when I read these lies and disinformation. Typical fear mongering lies propagated by Tobacco Control (and amplified by “popular health” media) are the following allegations:

    (i) a 1 hour hook session is equivalent to smoking 5 packs of cigarettes
    (ii) the hooka 2nd hand smoke is worse than that from cigarettes because of the massive smoke from the carbons burning
    (iii) sharing mouth pieces involves a risk of contagion of infectious disease.

    All these are absolutely malicious lies, as anybody who has ever smoked a hooka can tell. These are the facts:

    (i) 5 packs of cigarettes = 100 cigarettes = 100 grams of tobacco, whereas a 1 hour hooka session uses only 30 grams. There are very evident and obvious differences: the physical form and chemical composition of the tobacco (an oily mix of tobacco and glicerine), the smoking ritual and the pace of smoking The hooka smoke (as with regular pipes and cigars) is not inhaled (should not be), because inhaling defeats the purpose of tasting the flavors.

    (ii) The tobacco burns when special carbons are placed on it, but these are hard carbons (“coque”) that releases sparks but not smoke when buring, more so if you cover them with aluminium foil. The combustion from a cigarette tip occurs at 700 degrees celsius, the one in the hooka at 80 degrees. This means that the only second hand smoke from the hooka is that coming from the mouth of the smoker (as with e-cigs). While more than 4000 chemical compounds have been detected in cigarette smoke (9000 if you count extremely minute concentrations), only about 400 have been detected in the hooka smoker exhalation.

    (iii) the tobacco controllers are really hysterical: just a minimal hygiene is sufficient to prevent any contagion.

    I have tried to reply to various physicians and several “popular health” internet and printed rags that propagate these lies, but have never got any response. They just don’t care. However, judging from the increasing popularity of the hooka, it seems that the “health advise” from these rags is not taken seriously.

    Anybody interested in the science of the water pipe should read these excellent articles, one of them a demolishing reply to a study of the WHO spreading lies on the hooka (the idiots used a “smoking machine”):

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2672364/?tool=pubmed

    http://jnrbm.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1477-5751-5-17

    • junican Says:

      Thanks for the info. I read some of the link, but not all since I am going away on holiday in an hour. I’ll read more when I get back.

  6. junican Says:

    On holiday.Checking hookah. Jun.

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