Jeddah restaurants closed for serving shisha

April 12, 2013

Municipal authorities have shut down 11 restaurants and coffee shops in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah province city of Abhar for serving shisha (hubble-bubble)in closed areas. “The facilities were sealed off for breaking the law,” sources in the Red Sea province said.

“Everybody is well aware that the interior ministry has banned serving shishas in closed areas. We have repeatedly warned all facilities to comply with the law and regulations to avoid administrative decisions,” the source said, quoted by local news site Sabq. More than 100 pipes to be used by clients were confiscated during the raids on the facilities. Some of the restaurants and coffee shops were on the 30km coastal resort area of Red Sea Corniche, a prime tourism location in the city. Shishas are highly popular in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries and experts have warned that smoking flavoured tobacco via a long pipe connected to a vessel filled with water is becoming a fashionable trend among teenage girls.

According to official figures,Saudi Arabia has six million smokers, including around 800,000 teenagers, mainly intermediate and high school pupils, and 600,000 women. Saudi Arabia has repeatedly mounted massive anti-smoking campaigns that graphically highlighted health issues. It has also adopted several legislative restrictions and regularly published studies on the effects of passive smoking.

In August, a Saudi judge ruled that women who were affected by their husbands’ smoking were allowed to file cases against them. Appeals Judge Ebrahim Khodairi ruled that legal challenges by “suffering wives” could reach the stage of divorce. “If a wife finds out that her husband is a smoker and that she is suffering from his smoking and that there is a risk she develops an allergy or any health issue, the marriage can be ended,” he said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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