Criticizing the spread of sheesha particularly among Qatar’s young people and women, Central Municipal Council members yesterday unanimously approved a resolution to curb the practice, the Peninsula reports.
But because the CMC has no executive powers, the resolution takes the form of recommendations forwarded to the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning.
More than a third of Qatar’s residents are smokers, and the government has been taking steps in recent years to curb that figure.
Among the CMC’s suggestions:
- Raising the minimum age of someone patronizing a sheehsa cafe from 18 to 21 years old;
- Removing the private spaces within cafes usually reserved for couples; and
- Intensifying the monitoring of sheesha cafes to ensure they follow existing rules.
The Peninsula reports:
Asked to explain why the CMC is against ‘special cabins’ that some ‘sheesha’ cafes have for women and couples, (former CMC member Abdulrahman) Al Jefairi hinted women can be seen sitting with (unrelated) men in these enclosures.
…“If you notice, these cafes are all Arab. No non-Arab cafes have ‘sheesha’ facilities.These countries are bringing their culture here. They are introducing such elements of their culture locally.”
He added that Qatar should compensate cafe owners who lose business if the new rules take effect.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Business and Trade instructed cafe owners who offered the hubbly bubbly to prevent the spread of smoke throughout their eateries.
It also changed regulations so that aspiring cafe owners would also have to apply for a sheesha license through the ministry, rather than buy it from an existing owner.
Thoughts on raising the age limit and banning private cabins?
Credit: Photo by gsquared