July 7, 2010

So I've been designing some material for our esteemed Tobacco Control Cell. Since I'm not a smoker, I had no compunctions in looking at grissly cancer images and snickering at the damage the gruesome health warnings on each pack (scheduled to come out as of next month) are going to bring the local tobacco industry. When coming face-to-face with the horrible after-effects of second-hand smoke, I'm seriously considering declaring my person (and five feet around it) a non-smoking zone. I'm all prepared to wage war against people (who are not my friends, and who catch me in a bad mood) who think they can get away with blowing smoke in my face at offices or restaurants (take that you evil nicotine-addict).

But what I was not prepared for was that the TCC would make it a personal campaign to target ME with anti-sheesha fliers/posters. Say they (and I'm sure they lie) that sheesha is potentially 100 - 200 times worse can cigarrettes. They also point out that the water is a lousy excuse for a filter (actually, it's 'not' a filter) so all it does is compound the effects of the tobacco. I was utterly devastated by their lack of sensitivity in giving me this information, but (like all good Pakistanis) I was confident in my ability to ignore all warnings and continue to do what I want. So off I went last night and ordered a mint sheesha (because what else does one do in a social setting when food is forbidden and everyone else is eating?) and proceeded to have it. Except with every puff, these horrendous pictures of lung, mouth and larynx cancer, respiratory failure, heart attack victims, grieving families (and other fun stuff) just kept running through my mind. All the pleasure from the mint sheesha died a quick death, and I handed the damn thing over to someone else.

What a nuisance this is! Are all of life's pleasures to be taken away from me? Junk food is banned, bread (et al) is banned, chocolate is banned and now they take away sheesha also? How utterly, completely despicable! :(

11 comments:

Mackers said...

Woah! Woah! Woah!, How could water possibly compound the effects?

Plus, if you are a social sheehsa smoker, you only have it once every week or two, whereas cigarette smoking is a more constant activity. Not sure infrequent sheesha use can do much harm. By the way I have forgotten to fill the sheesha base with water a few times, and the smoke has been a fair bit harsher - not that this observation has any scientific merit.

Nonetheless, I remain sceptical of TCC's inconvenient claims.

Deepak Iyer said...

What's a sheesha?
Is it something like a hookah?

Xeb said...

M: Me too. But those pictures are really getting to me. *damn it*

D: Yup. Exactly like a hookah.

Rabia said...

ive been trying forever to get my brother to quit. but no matter how many pictures of well cooked lungs i sent him, he doesnt pay attention.

Anonymous said...

Deepak: Sheesha/Shisha (glorified form of traditional hookah) is the current fad in Pakistan.

People need to get more information about the harmful effects of Shisha. I've seen parents giving shisha to their kids w/o realizing that it's harmful for their kids.

Check out these web sites for further info:
http://www.emro.who.int/tfi/pdf/shisha.pdf
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3407000

Be informed, be safe and share the information with others - that's my policy :)

@Rabia: My best wishes for you and your brother. I hope he quits using tobacco soon.

Xeb said...

R: He will if he sees what I've seen.

Anon: Thanks for the information, but I believe my complaint lay in having access to too many warnings-I-don't-necessarily-appreciate! :P

Salman Latif said...

Lol. It's for the same reasons that a smoker won't quit smoking. Life's too short to divorce yourself of such carnal pleasures ;)

Saif said...

Nothing that is good for you is really enjoyable; everything that is enjoyable is "unhealthy" or socially unacceptable.
Fuck it. Life is way too short to not enjoy.
Here's to you, and to my lungs!

But to clarify, you don't mind people smoking sheeshah in your 5 ft circle, but don't have the same issues with sheesha?

Xeb said...

S: Life's also too short to give it up to chemotherapy! No? :P But between you and me, I'm not certain I'll stop, but I need to wait for the memory of those terrible pictures to fade!

S2: Haha, I don't mind people smoking either (although I don't smoke) and since I have sheesha, I can't possibly have any issues there, can I?

Ps: According to TCC, Second-hand smoke is every bit as harmful as smoking itself. So essentially my cigarette toting friends are murdering me. Shame on them!!

Saif said...

Well whaddya know?

I was kinda wondering where the 5 ft rule was going to come in, given that you like sheesha.

On that note, mint goes well with grape, cherry, and pistachio. Didn't mix too well with ilaichi :/
Pistachio and ilaichi are hard to find; the only place I have ever seen it was in Kandahar, came there by way of Iran.

I did pick up a very beautiful egyptian hookah on my last jaunt to warmer climes. It's ceramic, with designs, kinda like a small sindhi matka. The pipes themselves are rigid, and the seals are made out of multi-colored thread. If I ever get around to unpacking it, I'll take some pictures......

Xeb said...

I like ilaikhi. But mint with elaichi does not sound very good.

I will also buy an egyptian hookah. Ofcourse for that I need to go to egypt.A new ambition for 2011. :P

Oh wait, I think I gave up smoking sheesha. So much for that plan. *sigh*