A young man smokes shisha in a Hanoi bar.
Ho Chi Minh City authorities have asked local police and inspectors of relevant agencies to keep a close watch on bars and clubs where the hookah (usually known in Vietnam as shisha), a type of fruit-flavored, sweet-scented tobacco, is sold.
The HCMC People’s Committee, the municipal government, said more inspections and checks must be made to ensure no bars and clubs take advantage of the shisha smoking business to cover up illegal drug use and prostitution.
It also asked the HCMC Health Department to report on possible harms of shisha smoking and issue warnings about the medical damage that the tobacco can cause.
Shisha is currently not banned in Vietnam but the local medical community has warned that its effects on human health could match that of regular smoking tobacco.
Shisha smokers in Vietnamese big cities like HCMC and Hanoi are mostly young professionals, college students, teenagers and foreign tourists who gather for the heady buzz the flavored tobacco delivers.