Nineteen cafés were closed down in Amman, Jordan, in January after staff were caught serving argileh (shisha) to minors, according to a story in The Jordan Times citing ‘an informed source’.
Serving argileh to minors is illegal under the Public Health Law, and the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) is said to be inspecting rigorously facilities serving argileh.
“Our campaigns are stricter now and based on inspectors’ observations and citizens’ complaints,” said Mervat Mheirat, director of GAM’s health supervision department. “We agree with authorities, including the Health Ministry, that serving argileh to minors… should be eradicated.”
“This issue was not a priority in the past, but now we are more committed to cracking down on those who sell argileh to young people,” Mheirat added.
According to the Jordan National Anti-Smoking Society, about 23 per cent of Jordanians between the ages of 13 and 15 smoke argileh.
In previous remarks, Feras Hawari, director of the cancer control office at the King Hussein Cancer Center, said that a single session of argileh smoking could be as damaging to health as smoking between three and 10 packs of cigarettes.
The coal used to heat an argileh was “extremely toxic”, releasing up to 100 parts per million carbon monoxide emissions, the physician told the Times, before adding that such emissions could cause asphyxiation among smokers and affect passive smokers.