DNC proposes categorizing ‘shisha’ as drug

DHAKA, March 03, 2018 (BSS) – Against the backdrop of growing demand of deadly ‘shisha’ (hookah) among the youths, the Department of Narcotic Control (DNC) has proposed to incorporate it as a drug in the relevant law.

“We have sent a proposal to the government with a request to include shisha as a drug in the law as its addiction among the young generation is increasing gradually,” DNC Director General (DG) Md Jamal Uddin told BSS.

The Home Ministry had earlier formed an inter-organizational probe body following a High Court (HC) order asking the authorities concerned to take legal measures to stop the menace of shisha smoking upon news items published in newspapers.

The probe body collected eight samples from different shisha lounges at Gulshan and found the presence of cannabis in five of those samples after conducting chemical examinations of the samples at the DNC Chemical Lab at Gandaria in the old Dhaka.

The body made some recommendations to take measures against taking shisha as the presence of cannabis was found in the chemical examination. But, there is no scope of taking legal actions against shisha as it is not a scheduled drug as per the existing Narcotics Control Act, 1990.

Asked about the rapid growth of shisha trade, particularly in the posh areas, Additional Director of DNC, Golam Kibria, who is now on LPR, said to BSS today, “At least 80 shisha lounges have already been set up at different restaurants in Gulshan, Dhanmondi, Baridhara, Banani, Baily Road and Uttara. The number of shisha lounges is increasing day by day due to its popularity among the tobacco consumers. Youths from well-off families are the main consumers of the shisha lounges.”

“Taking shisha with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the most dangerous as one kilogram THC is produced from 100 kg cannabis,” he added.

In most of the raids of DNC, the youths from well-off families were found taking shisha with THC which poses threats to health as well as security, he opined.

He also said the smoke produced by a hookah contains high levels of toxic substances, including carbon monoxide and cancer-causing chemicals. It is also responsible for cardiovascular diseases.

Experts said the shisha smokers may absorb higher concentrations of the toxins found in cigarette smoke.

A typical one-hour session of hookah smoking exposes the user to 100 to 200 times the volume of smoke inhaled from a single cigarette.

The smoking of shisha can cause cancer, heart problem, sexual impotence and different infections and it is also responsible for low birth weight of the babies of pregnant women smoking shisha.