Numerous Coffee bars & restaurants of Jaipur where teenagers of today gather are offering Sheesa or hooka to their young patrons. It is the new in thing to have a hooka on the menu. Some friends gather around a hooka with sweet-smelling mild tobacco and enjoy smoking it. The rationale is, it is so mild, it smells so nice, you are among friends,they are all doing it, it is not habit-forming,what is the harm. What the children do not realize is the insidious nature of the smoke. Once hooked, first they will come to the joint more often for the sheesha, next they will call it a wimps past time and look for some other means to get on a high. Once a friend graduates to smoking cigarettes, cigars or other products of tobacco. They will follow him or her as the case maybe as the girls are not far behind boys in smoking sheesha. And in no time they will be addicted.
I am have much appreciation for the Indian governments efforts to ban smoking by educating the public about the harmful effect of smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products. But how do you educate the young people about the harmful effects of a fashion trend as smoking moves out from the neighbour-hood thadi into their trendy hangouts disguised as sweet-smelling milder version of the real thing.
If I remember correctly first we started on the mentholated versions and then later on to the real things and then on to the cigars or pipes or jarda or pan masala before starting on the nicotine gum before quitting for some time. And then starting the process again to maybe quitting one day,God willing. All the die-hard tobacco fans know it is not easy to quit. Most of the people who quit mostly do so after getting a choice from the doctor- either you kick the butt or you kick the bucket. By then it is too late. So much money and healthy living down the drain.
I am not a big fan about regulating everything and having the government do a parents or a schools job but in this case when there is regulation about smoking in public places how can you allow sale of a tobacco product to teenagers below eighteen. All of us have to take a serious look at this matter today before it is too late. It is in ever body’s interest because we all have children.