Now Meth in Hookah Tobacco

Now Meth in Hookah TobaccoNow Meth in Hookah Tobacco

The presence of meth in hookahs (water pipes) served in traditional restaurants and coffeehouses, was officially acknowledged by Khosrow Sadeghniat, head of the Health Ministry’s Center for Environmental Health.

“Unfortunately, many coffeehouses use crystal-injected tobacco in hookahs that is addictive to draw more customers,” Khabaronline quoted him as saying.

Using small amounts of meth in water pipes is cost-effective as hookah joints attract more customers in this manner. “The profit thus earned is far more than the cost of spending on a little bit of meth,” he said.

Pointing to reports on the high dosage of illegal drugs and amphetamine compounds used in hookahs that have led to cases of acute poisoning, he said in several instances, customers “fail to note the presence of the dangerous substances in water pipes as they are in lower doses.”

At Loghman Hospital, the main treatment center for cases of poisoning in Tehran, “I have met many people poisoned by hookah tobacco. Most of them are unaware of meth in hookahs and attribute their euphoria to the tobacco,” Sadeghniat said.  

Several measures have been introduced to ban hookah smoking. Since the beginning of last year (ended March 20), no new permits have been issued for hookah smoking in restaurants and coffeehouses, following a directive from the ministries of health and industries, mines and trade.

“We constantly inspect restaurants and coffeehouses to ensure they don’t serve hookahs without permit. Yet, many offer hookahs illegally, especially during evening and night hours when fewer checks are conducted.”

The Health Ministry has also developed plans to increase people’s awareness about the harmful impact of hookah tobacco on health.

He warned that in addition to crystal, additives and fungi that grow in the tobacco can lead to blindness, tachycardia (abnormally fast heart beat) and delusion. Sweetened or flavored tobacco in water pipes has also become popular among the youth.

 Flavored hookahs are a gateway for many young adults to become regular smokers. The product contains flavored chemicals at a high level (70-80%) which can pose health risks and diseases including different kind of cancers. The chemicals include benzaldehyde, benzyl alcohol, methyl anthranilate, organic alcohol 1-hexanol, etc.

Studies show an increase in tobacco consumption among adolescents, in particular young girls.

According to figures, hookah smoking showed a downward trend till the year 2007. But in 2009 a survey on smoking suggested water pipe smoking had increased  and hookah smoking had doubled in adolescents (13-16 year olds), in particular girls.