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October 26, 2021, 6:40 am

It’s trendy to smoke shisha in Vietnam

(11:42:58 AM 05/08/2014)
( - Shisha appeared for the first time in a bar in downtown Saigon more than four years ago. Since then, smoking shisha has become trendy among young people in big cities like Hanoi and HCM City.

Shisha is a glass-bottomed water pipe in which fruit-flavored tobacco is covered with foil and roasted with charcoal. The tobacco smoke passes through a water chamber and is inhaled deeply and slowly.


Shisha smoking is now very popular among young people, who want to prove themselves as connoisseurs. However, they don’t know that they have been cheated by service providers.
They have to pay from VND150,000 to VND500,000 ($7-$25) for a shisha hookah, while a 50 gram shisha flavor box can be used for four hookahs for two to three smokers. It is priced at only VND35,000-VND40,000 ($1.3-$2).
Most shisha shops directly import shisha flavors from the United Arab Emirates, the birthplace of shisha. But according to several shisha wholesalers, shisha in Vietnam is mainly imported from China.
Mr. Nguyen, a shisha trader, said: "There are three major shisha brands including Al Fakher, Starbuzz and Soex. In Vietnam, shisha is imported from Malaysia and China. The one from Malaysia has consistent quality but the prices are high, so the most popular products come from China". Nguyen said shisha from China is cheap, but the quality is questionable.
He said that several years ago, a Saigon man named H was the only one who imported and distributed in Vietnam, so the quality of shisha was consistent. However, since many peopje have jumped into this lucrative market, it is difficult to identify the quality of shisha.
Nguyen said that another source of supply of shisha is stewards. However, only high-income smokers can approach this source. “High-income shisha smokers are the people who are willing to play several thousands of US dollars to buy a hookah. These people are ready to pay hundreds of US dollars for smoking shisha in several hours," he added.
On the official website of Al Fakher shisha producer, based in the UAE, Vietnam and China are named on the list of countries using its products. But they are not official importers.
According to Vietnam’s regulations, health warnings must be printed on cigarette packages while shisha boxes have no warning.
At shisha smoking shops, many smokers use soft drinks like Coca-Cola, Sting and even alcohol as additives when smoking shisha.
According to research carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO), the volume of smoke inhaled in an hour-long shisha session is estimated to be the equivalent of smoking between 100 and 200 cigarettes.
HCM City last year proposed to the Ministry of Health to add shisha to the list of goods and services banned from business in order to protect people's health.
Thuong Ha

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