Hookah Tobacco Prices Increases in Palestine

Published on January 12th, 2012 00:00

Mustafa Jum’a, the owner of a coffee shop in the West Bank, is concerned about his business as the prices for hookah tobacco grow because of an additional tariff imposed on tobacco. Israeli officials have unexpectedly increased tariffs on tobacco, as according to the Paris Economic Protocol signed with Israel in 1994, the states should align import tariffs in conformity with the unique customs framework. The given increase has brought to a decrease of customers, stated Jum’a, adding that the majority of his customers are public employees that usually came to the coffee shop several times per day. “Now they come here only once, or do not come at all,” he said.

hookah tobacco

The price for hookah tobacco in Juma’s coffee shop has rose from about 1.8 U.S. dollars to 3.4 dollars. He earned money when hookah smokers ordered something to drink, so currently his business gives less profit due to the decrease in the number of customers. The chief of the tobacco customs department Bandi Dahdah stated that according to the new customs tariff per kilogram of hookah tobacco one will have to pay 73 dollars, in comparison with the previous 13 dollars. As the most popular tobaccos are imported from Egypt and Bahrain, many hookah aficionados are affected by this regulation.

Tobacco sorts produced in West Bank region can’t compete with these famous Arab blends. The Ministry of Health approved the decision, Dahdah said, underlining that thus it hopes to encourage smokers to quit their habit. According to the recent survey, more than 800,000 people in the Palestinian territories are heavy smokers. “My young kids smoke hookah, even my 16 year-old son smokes behind my back. I really hope that this regulation will help them to stop smoking as soon as possible,” stated Nadia Karim, a 45-year-old mother.

Regular smokers are not supposed to abstain from smoking after the increase. Mohammed Radi stated he won’t stop using tobacco products. “We are addicted to it now, so I don’t know that many people will quit,” he said. At the same time, the price growth has increased the cases of tobacco smuggling into the West Bank. “Smuggling has become a very advantageous thing, after the increase in tariffs, and the PNA (Palestinian National Authority) is well-informed about this situation,” Dahdah said.

Dahdah also added the Palestinian officials are looking for actions to change the economic protocol with Israel. Several jokes and cartoons among the Palestinians are blaming the price increase. Indignant hookah smokers have accessed social network sites in order to demonstrate their discontent, some of them even organized threatening demonstrations.

By Robert Smith, Staff Writer Copyright © 2011 CigarettesPub.com All rights reserved.

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