Iranian Youths Increasingly Use Hookah, Says Lung Specialist

Recent studies have shown that smoking and the use of tobacco products have risen significantly among young adults in Iran, according to Dr. Mohammad Reza Masjedi, the head of the Department of Pulmonary Medicine at Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences.

“Data shows that 24 percent of men and 2 to 4 percent of women in the country smoke cigarettes,” Dr. Masjedi said. “Companies flood social media with ads for a wide range of attractively packaged flavored tobacco for hookah (shisha) which target young adults. That’s worrying.”

Dr. Masjedi added: “A recent research by a drug rehab clinic in Zahedan, capital of the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan, has shown that 90 percent of the addicts treated at the center had smoked cigarettes and hookah before moving to harder drugs. The study indicates that cigarette smoking is a gateway to illegal drug use.”

“Non-communicable diseases cause roughly 80 percent of the 360,000 deaths that occur in Iran every year,” Dr. Masjedi explained. “That figure includes cancer deaths. There are 365,000 people with different types of cancer currently in Iran, and the number is increasing at an alarming rate.”

Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi