Bulgaria wants to ban smoking of hookahs by under-18s
Bulgaria is moving towards banning the smoking of hookahs by under-18s, amid media reports that the practice is a craze among the country’s teenagers.
A meeting was held at Bulgaria’s Ministry of Health on August 30. It was agreed that within a month, the various institutions involved would submit formal opinions, following which amendments to the law would be drafted and tabled in Parliament.
Hookahs for hire are a common sight in many restaurants, cafés and bars in Sofia and elsewhere in Bulgaria.
Currently, Bulgarian law does not regulate the smoking of hookahs – also known as hubbly-bubblies, Marra pipes or Nargile (from the Persian word).
Bulgarian media reports said that experts were “categorical” that the hookah should be banned “because in many ways it is also more harmful than cigarettes”. Legislating a ban would require amendments to three laws – on excise, tobacco and health.
According to medical research published in 2007, a typical hookah smoking session delivers 1.7 times the nicotine dose of one cigarette and the nicotine absorption rate in daily waterpipe users is equivalent to smoking 10 cigarettes per day.
Various research papers published between 2011 and 2015 said that any hookah smokers, especially frequent users, have urges to smoke and show other withdrawal symptoms after not smoking for some time, and it can be difficult to give up.