Shisha smoking is temporarily banned in all public areas of Istanbul by the Governor’s Office as a precaution to reduce the risk of forest fires and other potential dangers.
Istanbul Governor Davut Gül made a statement on his social media account regarding the allegations of a shisha ban in cafes, and announced that smoking shisha is banned on beaches, coasts, forests, recreation areas and parks.
“In Istanbul; shisha smoking is prohibited on beaches, coasts, forests, recreation areas and parks. There is no restriction on licensed hookah lounges outside these places,” Gül said.
This decision of banning shishas is mainly intended to protect the city’s greenery and prevent destructive wildfires. Yet, recently, the smoking of shisha by foreign tourists in the coastal areas of Istanbul has also caused negative reactions from local residents. Many residents who went to the seaside to have a breath of air complained about the shisha smoke covering the beach.
Even though it is scientifically proven that shisha smoking is associated with serious lung damage and several cancer types as one shisha session is almost equivalent to smoking about 100 cigarettes, shishas are an important cultural element in Istanbul and is preferred by many foreign tourists, especially Arabs.