Hit & Run

Second-Hand Vapor?

|

As of today, Iranians can no longer smoke their hubble-bubbles in public. Water pipes, as the BBC observes, have been at the center of Iranian social life for centuries. Puff on a qalyoun in a teahouse now, however, and you face a fine and confiscation.

Why? The mullacracy cites health reasons, but that's obviously nonsense. Water-pipeless Iranians will now be lighting more cigarettes. The Beeb speculates that the ban is an early shot in this year's campaign against "social corruption," which "includes poor observance of Islamic dress codes and public morals, parties involving alcohol and the mingling of unmarried people from both sexes." Young people, notes correspondent Jim Muir, "have recently taken increasingly to gathering around the qalyoun to smoke and flirt."