Think of the most popular trends in youth nowadays and the first thing that pops up in your mind is undoubtedly Shisha, also referred to as hubble bubble or water pipe. It emerged as a style icon in the elite circles in the beginning but within a short span of just a few years, Shisha’s fan club covered people from nearly all the groups of society. The most enthusiastic of these were of course young people. The recent attempts of the Punjab Government to put a check on this fast growing fast growing Shisha culture has led to many debates and question marks- the most important of which is that when the consumption of cigarettes and other drugs remains unchecked then what’s this hype over Shisha?
The answer is simple: social acceptance. Where people may refrain from trying cigarettes and other drugs due to the conspicuous black label, the seemingly innocent ‘fruity’ hubble bubble appears quite a harmless choice. The crux of the matter lies in the comparative analysis between the availability of a certain addictive product verses the flaring ‘culture’ of another. Cigarettes may be an optional choice for a certain few but Shisha serves as the must-try hot sport for nearly everyone. For many it is a hobby, a favorite past time with buddies, a means of being up-to-date with the latest trends or simple leisure puffing just because others are doing it. In addition, its usage isn’t confined to Shisha bars only but is also stretching roots in educational premises as well. It isn’t rare to find students using their own water pipes in university corners and hostels. On the whole, the concluding fact is that due to the non-reactive social sensitivity (also sensibility) towards Shisha consumption, it became a strong culture rather than individual dark habits like drug or cigarette addition.
Also a worth mentioning fact here is that under the cover of Shisha tradition, many other drugs were being paved in too. Many bars have been reported to serve Shisha mixed with illegal drugs like heroine, hashish etc. Also at many Shisha spots, it is also available with wine in the filtering base instead of water. So a casual hookah hobby may end up in helpless addiction of even more destructive products.
With the hovering news of Punjab Government’s consideration for an altogether complete ban on shisha, many willing investors feel discouraged to step in the previously blooming shisha business (Why risk money when future circumstances are uncertain?). Of course a 100% ban on anything cannot be deemed possible but even a few effective measures here by government can lead to a relatively large potential drop in the Shisha market.
When we talk about banning something, it will be pretty overconfident of us to ignore its twin-black market. Now it is upon the policy devisors that how intelligently they tackle this. Like many people are of the view that instead of declaring a complete ban, minor initiatives like strict action against serving it to underage teens, heavy taxation (which in turn renders Shisha less affordable), official checks and certain restrictions on Shisha bars etc will act as more smarter tools for this cause. Whatever the case maybe, formulating a serious strategy and then properly enforcing it for offsetting the gripping Shisha culture is the imperative need of the hour.