Thursday, February 6, 2014

News the HP Doesn't Cover: Hookah Ban in Jordan

What a smart decision from the Jordanian government, an arbitrary ban on a popular pastime during a period of revolution and unrest in the Middle East:

AMMAN — There’s no smoke without ire: a ban on water pipes in restaurants and cafes 
has caused uproar in Jordan where $1 billion worth of tobacco goes up in smoke every  

Under a decision based on a 2008 law that was not previously enforced, the government has announced that by the end of 2014 the licences of more than 5,000 establishments that serve hookahs will be revoked.Furious smokers and cafe owners say the move will affect their lifestyle and a $1.5 billion industry, jeopardizing the jobs of 12,000 people.“This decision will definitely have a negative impact on us and mean thousands of people lose their jobs,” said cafe manager Emran Torsha.His popular Jafra cafe in central Amman serves around 2,000 customers daily, half of them smokers.“The government should not make decisions this way,” Torsha said as dozens of men and women, young and old, smoked hookah with their drinks and snacks and listened to live music.“What should we do with customers who come here to escape from life’s daily pressures?”Tourism Minister Nidal Qatamin has urged “a gradual implementation of the ban, taking business interests into consideration.”But Health Minister Ali Hiasat is adamant, vowing that Jordan will be free of hookah smoking by the end of 2014.“The government will not go back on this decision,” Hiasat says.

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