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Saudi Arabia

Shisha smoking by women leading to divorce

ABHA: Preacher Ahmad Al-Ma’bi warned against the increasing popularity of smoking shisha among Saudi women, citing a number of cases in which marriages were dissolved once men discovered their wives smoked shisha.
Al-Ma’bi said that statistics reveal that shisha and cigarettes are becoming popular among Saudi women in backyards or roofs of homes after work, as they find a place for relaxing and retiring to these places.
Azizah Nawfil, a journalist with Laha magazine, said that the smoking of shisha or hookah has become very popular among young Saudi women in the last five years, either in cafés, or at home. Many Saudi women do not mind smoking, even with family.
Seen as a way to attract customers, Nawfil said dealers have introduced a new form of commercials into the market such as showcasing shisha in attractive colors and fancy bags.
Aisha Al-Omari, a housewife, said: “I started smoking after I tried the taste of shisha with one of my friends.” She said that her friend encouraged her to smoke this and now it has become a habit. However, she smokes shisha not in front of her family members, but with a group of friends. “I faced difficulty in finding a place to smoke shisha. But when my husband came to know that I smoke shisha and I can't do without it, he allowed me to smoke inside home.”
Amir Ali, one of the owners of a shisha shop, said that many women regularly come to his shop to purchase items to smoke hookah. He said that the price of hookahs is between SR200 and SR1,000, depending on the shape and specifications. He said that there are innovative forms of women’s shisha, as well as specific types of scented tobacco which women want like melon, strawberries and loban.
Ali Zairi, a psychologist, said that statistics reveal that 5.7 percent of the total population of women in the Kingdom smoke shisha and/or cigarettes. This is a large percentage compared to other Gulf countries.
A Ministry of Health report said that 16 percent of female students in the Kingdom have experimented with smoking. Eleven percent of women use tobacco. Out of them, 7.2 percent are students. More than 9 percent use different other forms of tobacco products. The ratio of smokers among girl students is around 3.7 percent.
Sabah Zahhar, a sociologist at the Saudi German Hospital in Asir, said that girls are attracted to hookah because they think this is the in-thing, or the latest fad.
They also think that through this they achieve equality with men in all aspects of life. This is also a behavior which indicates their rebellion against society and tradition.
Dr. Khalid Jalban, a family medicine expert at King Khalid University, said smoking adversely affects the mother, the child and a woman's fertility.

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