Cafes owners in Amman angered by ‘no shisha’ rule

Smoking one argileh is equivalent to smoking 15 to 19 cigarettes, according Jordan’s health ministry

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A decision to stop issuing and renewing argileh (shisha) licenses in Amman has angered café owners and customers alike, reported albawaba website.

The decision came after the Greater Amman Municipality issued a decision to implement a Public Health law, prohibiting smoking in public areas.

“The municipality received an official letter from the Health Ministry in late 2010, saying that we should not issue new licences for cafés serving argileh and stop renewing them,” Mervat Mheirat, director of GAM’s health supervision department, told the Jordan Times.

According to Mheirat, the municipality did not issue new licenses since then, added the newspaper.

The pipe, also known as hubbly-bubbly is widely consumed by café goers, and is served in a variety of tobacco flavors, including apple, watermelon, mint, grape, strawberry and cherry, among many others.

According to the Jordanian Ministry of Health, smoking one argileh is equivalent to smoking 15 to 19 cigarettes, reported the Jordan Times.

Café owners rely heavily on argileh in their businesses. Khader Issa told albawaba there are over 5,000 cafes in Amman serve argileh, and many of them will be forced to close or be crucially impacted by the official decision.

“One cannot imagine anyone opening a new café without serving argileh to customers. It has become something essential for people these days,” he noted, adding that the decision would ultimately put many out of jobs, as cafes would no longer need employees to keep refilling charcoal that is put on argileh to keep it lit.