Is smoking banned for women in Pakistan?

Published: November 20, 2012

Smoking in a patriarchal society is a men-only activity. PHOTO: REUTERS

“Isn’t smoking for women banned in Islam?” asked a friend from the UK. “Are you allowed to smoke in Pakistan, being a woman?”

Many times, women in this great nation come across such questions. Having attempted to clear these misconceptions a number of times, it was only pragmatic, if not necessary, to search for the root cause of these misgivings. Is Islam being hijacked by our cultures, traditions and social norms?

My answer, plainly, was, “No, smoking is not banned for women in Pakistan.”

With his flabbergasted look, I realised that my answer did not pacify the curiosity of this media-influenced gentleman.

Smoking in a patriarchal society is a men-only activity. Quaid-e-Azam, the founder of this nation, smoked but the women of this country were prohibited from doing so. Why?

Social taboos being converted into religious prohibitions reflects the confusion faced by the average Pakistani. Citing the damage smoking causes to human health seems a more plausible stance to take when labelling smoking a taboo, than stooping to the men-can-do-what-they-like attitude. Unfortunately, in accordance with the general consensus in Pakistan, smoking seems only to be injurious to the health of women.

To get an overview of the mindset of the average Pakistani, all one has to do is Google articles on women — spoilt-liberal-fascist-socialites of loose character as they are commonly referred to — smoking in Pakistan and look at the thread of comments that follow. Deeming a woman unfit for marriage or a workplace due to her ‘extracurricular activities’ — despite her male counterparts indulging in the same activity — is not only unfair but lacks reasonable judgment.

Just like abortion, smoking, too, has become a controversial topic of discussion. Women seen smoking in public are automatically stereotyped as being cunning charlatans with no morals or respect for society — a person who will most definitely be seen partying it up into the wee hours of the night with strange men and, of course, if she smokes, she probably drinks, too.

Besmirching a woman’s personality and labelling her a conniving temptress unfit for society whilst in the same breath congratulating a boy for his initiation into manhood sorely damages reasonability. If smoking is a social taboo for its negative impact on health, then it should be stated so for medical reasons across the board; overshadowing it with a patriarchal decree serves no moral purpose and negates rationality.

Read more by Erum here or follow her on Twitter  @shaikherum

erum.shaikh

Erum Shaikh

The writer is Head of the Blogs Desk at The Express Tribune and has an Undergraduate Degree in Law from the University of London. She tweets @shaikherum (twitter.com/shaikherum)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • RS

    Gosh so dumbRecommend

  • Turbo Lover

    No, I have seen many women smoke. It’s not like that. Isn’t any type of intoxicant banned in Islam?Recommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    Women cant do much in good ol Paki land without being labeled ‘Teaz’, ‘Immoral’, ‘Unchaste’, ‘Impure’ etc etc :D Used to it now … not that I smoke or drink anyway ;) heheRecommend

  • asad

    bravo!Recommend

  • Equality

    The “shaana bashaana” syndrome would now take women to new level altogether. Apart from Charsees we might now see Charsans in the back alleys of Karachi in the night. Yeehaaa ! Recommend

  • Hira

    The concept of smoking being considered a transition into manhood went out in the 60′s. What your article basically says is ” I have a right to jump off that bridge just as much as a man does”. Ridiculous.Recommend

  • rashid

    stupid article………….if some thing good is happening in the society be happy with it Recommend

  • jgjk

    @Hira:
    No, that’s not what the article says.

    You probably know very well it does not…but since we insist on remaining trapped in the same old Pakistani mindset that is how people will choose to read it. Just as I expected.Recommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    @Rashid why do you have to call the blog “stupid” there is a nicer way to criticise someones thoughts or writing. If you cant say something nice, dont say it at all and if you ‘must’ say it, implement better vocabulary. Recommend

  • Qasim

    Just like guys won’t smoke in front of their parents, girls should not smoke in public…its a cultural thing…one needs to understand rather than make an issue out of it.Recommend

  • Khalid

    In Pashtun households specially in Attock district, it is normal practice for women to smoke chillum (a water pipe) but women smoking cigarettes is unthinkable. Recommend

  • Ernest Dempsey

    Important topic! Though I would discourage smoking in all people, it really is senseless to allow one gender a substance – in fact encourage it – but if the other gender uses the item then call her evil. Another living example of conventional hypocricy! Recommend

  • Dr Omar

    I would like to point out, smoking being a taboo is more associated in our urban centres not rural ones! In villages of Sindh as well as Punjab, women commonly smoke hukkah (water pipes) in-fact in some areas also beeri (cheroot).

    So what the author is saying might be true but only for our urban settings. Recommend

  • Khalid

    @Ayesha Pervez:
    It is a fact that smoking and drinking causes impotence for men but I guess that fact does not apply here——enjoy.Recommend

  • SK

    Just as I was expecting in the comments….. I don’t smoke, I hate all who smoke, be it men or women and the grounds are … they may have a complete right to destroy their own being but turning us into passive smokers is something they are completely rude about. Now, the article…. yes a BRAVO attempt….. a slap on faces of all those men and women who are such hypocrites….. and are unable to use their grey matter to decide if a certain act should be justified on rationale of being Man and Woman…..For Allah’s sake….Grow Up…..the writer has mentioned it so many times that to shun the act on the basis of danger it poses to human health should be the criteria for banning/criticising it. All smokers be hanged… so that they get to know….Real men and women , don’t smoke their lives they rather build it…….!!! There is no point of discussion in it. The writer has tried to outline the mind-set of masses, an approach, an attitude of demos towards smoking, not that she has recommended it for both the genders….. When you read, read it with a clear mind….not with pre-conceived notions…!! Recommend

  • http://India Feroz

    Stereotypes die hard, live long !Recommend

  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui

    Smoking is NOT banned for women in Pakistan but Pakistani women try not to smoke in front of men.Recommend

  • I.

    Oh yeah stereotyping is wrong.
    Bt if I had the authority I would’ve banned it for both genders atleast in public.
    U dont/should not have the right to play with ur health!Recommend

  • Hala

    @Hira and Equality:
    smoking here is an example
    this mindset is an important thing to address
    yes everyone has an equal right to jump off bridges
    smoking is equally harmful to women and man
    but if a man is told not to smoke he’s told because it is unhealthy
    but a woman is told not to smoke because it makes her a bad woman
    the article is not trying to say everyone should smoke
    it is trying to discern the reasons for this discrepancy
    again i do not smoke
    and i discourage people who i know from smoking
    but that is not the point
    the point is the automatic judgement
    intolerance in one thing bleeds into another
    women are not allowed to smoke quickly becomes women are not allowed to breatheRecommend

  • Sauleha

    Nasha haraam hai.. let it be cig, weed, alcohol or teaRecommend

  • zehra

    My god such a childish article!! first of all venture out of the city ; Huqqa beeri is something that is quite common in villages and all do so, so it has nothing to do with Islam or modernization!! but i get your point you wanted an article to be published and ET just publishes these only right so you thought lets whip up something crazy!!

    SMOKING should be banned not coz of religion but because of the growing sickness in our country, check the number of cancer patients, so for me cig, hukka gutka paan should be controlled mainly as we lack the medical facilities too we cant provide for every citizen!!

    however i ignore all the myopic views in your articles and try ot sense it out……….. it is about a perception, even young boys who are standing in a group and smoking and might be joking of their own but when you pass by or someone sees them they say” oho bigrawe huay awara larke taar rehe hunge larkio ku” so it is not about only females is it?
    for some cigg smoking is style, being the man ,macho, for some it is the way to network otherwise get isolated if you dnt take smoking breaks at work , when it comes to women in some circles it is thought of being adventurous, being open , being a tom boy in some it is thought of as oh she is smoking must be fast ( but this thought is even if she wears jeans and a hijab on it, even if she goes out for a coffee, even if she is talking to a person on mobile, even if she is coming home from dinner so for them anything that is not acceptable norm of women is fast
    women are perceived ( unfortunately by majority, and a lot by literature and media too) as gentle sweet smelling delicate creatures ( who love to dress up go out shop and have no mind/ will of own) so they dnt accept a ciggi smelling lady as being lady like .

    however you can smoke if you want in public i dnt see the world coming down , but do prepare self for the beta ache ghar ki larkiya yeh nhn karti lecture!! Recommend

  • Waheed Ensari

    Asalam-0-Alikum!

    Another Article just like one before on Maya Khan show. I don’t know what is wrong with people everyone is justifying for his/her habits, ideas, negativeness etc, instead of going with the ground reality. Smoking is neither good for male nor for female, so question of smoking in equality in both the genders is baseless rather disturbing. Why don’t you people try to realize that today’s Girl will be the future Mother (now don’t misunderstand that I’m saying girls only give birth to children and they can do nothing else etc etc) as I know of smoking (Alhamdulillah I don’t smoke) if someone smokes then it goes on. So once the girls in early age are smoking they’ll destroy themselves & their future lives. Because as far Man is concerned, he’s supposed to go out for job, business, work etc and as a good mother, girl should stay at home to look after the Child/ Children, because a Good Mother can produce/ give a Good Nation. Imagine a Young Girl with a New Born in Lap is smoking as she’s habitual of doing so. Please send good message to outer world. Now as far Hukkah is concerned, smoked by Grand Mother(s), its a separate issue because they didn’t smoke in public and as far as their age is concerned they cannot be compared with the Young Girls where the writer is pointing out and Erum Sheikh trying to prove some point out of nowhere.Recommend

  • fileinstant

    what about pujabi old women enjoying smoking mostly ‘huqqa’ when they want even in public. . .my late grand maa used to smoke. . And it wasn’t a taboo. . Neither in our village nor in my family. .Recommend

  • Parvez

    I think you took it for granted that the reader would assume that you are talking of the urban woman. The situation in the rural areas is somewhat different.
    The social stigma that you associate with smoking and women, is also true for women dressed a little ‘daringly’ or even women who chose to show more overall independence.
    Narrowing it down to smoking is doing this subject a bit of an injustice because it is societal norms in general towards women that have become and are becoming more restrictive and certainly not for the good of society.Recommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/ne.thalho Quratulain

    Its a great a piece, I must say. I’ve been wondering the same since ages. why double standards?Recommend

  • not impressed

    @Hira:
    try having a cigarette on the street and let’s see how you feel. I’m a smoker and let me tell you its ten times worse than wearing a sleeveless t shirt and walking down the street. Oh, I’m sorry, is that wrong too? Maybe we should all just jump off a bridge. Recommend

  • Intelektual

    @zehra:
    that achy ghar ki larki lecture was in fact the point of the article which u hypocrytically declared as non existant read ur comment again. Even in villages only elderly women indulge in Hukka n stuff young girls are not allowed there as well !
    These stigmas that you say ET is crazy enough to allow are further substantiated by your own comments ! Stereotyping ppl as you say “awara larky” and gender biasing “Achy gharany ki or not” are plain WRONG ! Every one as an adult shud hav the right to choose wat they want for themselves without being judged and masses should hav the emotional ability to accept and respect their decisions unless they are personnally involved !
    and about health and med care I did nt c an article by you asking the govt. or raising awarness among masses about cig and hukka related health issues Y only have u brought it up in contrast to a crazy ficticious article as you say !Recommend

  • Nauman

    LOL

    I saw many videos titled – Is this Islam?

    And the video showed women smoking. LOL

    And some showed little girls dancing in school uniforms. LOL

    It was interesting to read peoples’ comments that how we have become immoral.

    The same guys smoke with impunity, but that is not immoral.

    Pakistanis are surely in a league of their own when it comes to hypocrisy. Recommend

  • http://faisalarshad.wordpress.com/ Faisal Arshad

    @ author
    People like you can remove these taboos by writing such articles and acting as role models for every other sin only woman humanity is save in our country. Recommend

  • http://pakistani-revival.blogspot.com Ovais

    smoking is bad regardless of genderRecommend

  • Pessimist

    Does the average Pakistani not know how to read an article? My God, some of the comments here are extremely stupid.
    Let’s get a few things clear. Miss Shaikh does not encourage smoking, neither does she believe all women should be allowed to smoke. She’s merely pointing out the hypocrisy and double standards in our society (believe me, there are a lot). She makes a good point when she says the character of women come into judgement when they are seen smoking publicly. It shames me to say this, but I also held a similar view when I was a child. I recall when I was young, my sister was discouraged from smoking by my aunt because it would ‘make her a bad woman and nobody would want to marry her’. Similarly, when I was caught smoking, I was given an hour long lecture on the medical hazards of smoking. Naturally smoking is bad, but why couldn’t the same lecture be given to my sister? Do women have super dooper lungs immune to lung cancer? I highly doubt it. That’s what the author is trying to question!! Rant over.

    Hira:
    The concept of smoking being considered a transition into manhood went out in the 60′s. What your article basically says is ” I have a right to jump off that bridge just as much as a man does”. Ridiculous.

    Are you 12? Is that what you deduced from the article?

    Qasim:
    Just like guys won’t smoke in front of their parents, girls should not smoke in public…its a cultural thing…one needs to understand rather than make an issue out of it.

    ‘Cultural thing’? I never knew double standards and hypocrisy could be called culture. Thank you for that valuable piece of information.Recommend

  • Pessimist

    Waheed Ensari:
    Asalam-0-Alikum!
    Another Article just like one before on Maya Khan show. I don’t know what is wrong with people everyone is justifying for his/her habits, ideas, negativeness etc, instead of going with the ground reality. Smoking is neither good for male nor for female, so question of smoking in equality in both the genders is baseless rather disturbing. Why don’t you people try to realize that today’s Girl will be the future Mother (now don’t misunderstand that I’m saying girls only give birth to children and they can do nothing else etc etc) as I know of smoking (Alhamdulillah I don’t smoke) if someone smokes then it goes on. So once the girls in early age are smoking they’ll destroy themselves & their future lives. Because as far Man is concerned, he’s supposed to go out for job, business, work etc and as a good mother, girl should stay at home to look after the Child/ Children, because a Good Mother can produce/ give a Good Nation. Imagine a Young Girl with a New Born in Lap is smoking as she’s habitual of doing so. Please send good message to outer world. Now as far Hukkah is concerned, smoked by Grand Mother(s), its a separate issue because they didn’t smoke in public and as far as their age is concerned they cannot be compared with the Young Girls where the writer is pointing out and Erum Sheikh trying to prove some point out of nowhere.

    Your comment has sent me into a state of depression. This comment would have made sense 50 years ago :(
    In fact, I don’t even want to point out how wrong it is. I’ll go and have a chocolate milkshake to cure my temporary depression. Recommend

  • Khalid

    @Equality:

    A charsee friend of mine ran out of charas late at night and was dying for a cig, but couldn,t find his fix anywhere – I thought of an idea – I knew the village Imam smoked charas I told my friend lets go to the mosque you can get some from him – so we went and my friend told him about his need; Imam replied, I would love to give some but I have enough for only one cig. and in the morning I have to lead the prayers too.Recommend

  • shuja ul islam

    the world is going to hell..and the author’s main concern is smoking…smart choice i must say..m with you on this one..!!Recommend

  • Qasim

    Really? These are our issues? No disrespect to the author because a woman’s right to smoke in public is not to be ignored. But on a serious note and just for my information – is urban Pakistan still bobbing its head on gender specific labels and taboos? I thought the ‘geos’, ‘arys’, ‘vibes’ and desi fashion police had managed to put all that in the background? Or maybe double standards continues to be our ‘qaumi khel’

    Regardless, I still think that a girl’s right to primary education takes precedence over this any day when it comes to inking a few hundred words. And you know what else takes precedence over that – the disappointment within urban waste-of-education-desis who are disappointed at the birth of baby girls. Write about that please. Your writing skills deserve to be used for graver issues – and that’s a compliment.Recommend

  • Nauman

    @ Pessimist

    80% of Pakistanis believe in the same thing that has plunged you into depression.

    Please do not have chocolate milkshake, you might be accused of promoting zionism. Recommend

  • Qasim

    Oh and yes I just noticed there’s another Qasim here – I don’t subscribe to the ‘women smoking in public to be a cultural thing’ doctrine so thats not me.Recommend

  • Qasim

    @ Pessimist,

    hypocrisy, double standards, conceitedness, contempt and deceit are all part of Pakistani culture that we are so pompous about. Get used to it. Put some hashish in that milkshake – you’ll need it ;)

    Qasim No 2Recommend

  • Shah

    A real childish article. Do you know current issues which Europe is facing because of smoking. Men or Female, are you trying to tell me that with this article you want to fight for equal rights.

    Like in 1000000 Problems in Pakistan you want to come and discuss smoking.
    Yes women at few points are not treated well in Pakistan and also in UK or the so called civilized world, same conditions can also go for men.

    Please grow up and start writing some thing which means to the society. Recommend

  • Talha

    the solution is that paki women should stop giving a damn about what other people think.Recommend

  • Salman

    While we comment, Tribune is enjoying the privileges of more traffic. Hail Google!Recommend

  • TrueBlue43

    In a society where most of We men are all the time looking for an iota of hint, gesture or clue from “The Lady on the Street” to get / justify the immoral courage to stare, remark or even touch, a smoking woman is a “jackpot”. Respecting woman mainly comes from the environment one is brought up in & if you respect woman in general, it is much easier to get rid of this taboo of public smoking of woman. As for smoking, do it by all means girl and i would not judge you for this. It is injurious to health by the way …… ;)Recommend

  • Shah

    @Pessimist:

    The Author chose a very Dum example to explain the double standards. Smoking is not good and it has nothing to do with freedom. Women used to smoke hukka in villiages in Pakistan.

    The article has no head or tails. If you are talking about the west than please come here and see what is happening with the young crowd. Should we adopted such attitude in our culture in the name of Freedom. What a non sense.

    There are alot of positive points in societies in the west. Why do these so called free thinkers take the most dumm point. Sorry but pretty useless articleRecommend

  • SATTI

    @Pessimist:

    And about going into depression. Please dont take the society into depression with your thoughts…..and really dont get it why are we just fighting about some thing which is not good for the society.

    Aaj ki bachi kal ki maa…you think its cheap or its 50 years old. Grow up..these are the problems in the current western society and I hope wont become problem in pakistan.

    Do you know where I work in Germany most of the German guys fly to poor countries to get girls with a simple reason that they cannot anymore live with girls in their country. Women has rights andso do male, but fighting on it on points like smoking and cooking is ridiculous…..Grow up people

    Girls have their responsibily and guys have theirs….what I done get it why do girls want that guys should get a kid out of……….

    The modern world is acutally not modern at all…its taking you back…Hope you enjoyed your milkshakeRecommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk

    Forget gender equality. Why does anyone need to smoke anyway?
    On second thoughts, considering the fact that smoking causes impotency, it might be a cheap method of population control that simultaniously benefits the exchequer!Recommend

  • Pessimist

    Seriously, what is wrong with people? Allow me to explain what this article is about. I will put some bits bold letters so maybe you (and the rest of the idiots) can understand what Miss Shaikh is trying to say:

    To Shah & Satti:
    This article is not about women’s smoking RIGHTS! It’s about the PERCEPTION towards women smokers. Read the last sentence of this article (use a dictionary or thes if you want to, it may help your cause). Understand it. Read it again. Use Google Translate. Ask a friend. Think about it. Deabte it (if you can). If you can get that, then you have understood the article. Nowhere in this article does the author say that women should be allowed to smoke. Why have you mentioned the west? I did not mention the west in my comment. Read! I can go into another debate with you about the west, but it’s not worth my time or energy.

    Now for Satti, do you know that smoking causes impotency? Would that not effect the family? A healthy mum is a must but it’s fine if the dad is a chain smoker with lung cancer, as long as mummy is fine. You’re right, I should grow up. Now coming onto your (hilarious) example of Germany. Please tell me which part of Germany this is? I would like to visit it. I’m not too far from Germany you see. I want you to know that my English vocabulary is not sufficient to explain how stupid, irrational. iditoic, absurd, pointless and ridiculous your analogy is. Write an article about the dangers of a modern world and the German import of ‘poor’ women. I would love to read it.

    I’m going to paste the last sentence of the article here. People should really read into it. Peacé!

    If smoking is a social taboo for its negative impact on health, then it should be stated so for medical reasons across the board; overshadowing it with a patriarchal decree serves no moral purpose and negates rationality.Recommend

  • Insaan

    Women should have equal right to suffer from smoking related diseases like lung cancer. There should be more women “taliban” and suicide bombers too.Recommend

  • Danish Khan

    go in rural areas or urban lower class neighbourhoods and you’ll find real pakistani women smoking cigarettes, hukkas, berris etc in public, its those elite wannabes westerns that ve issue abt everything here.Recommend

  • fk

    Being a woman, smoker and drinker and a very proud Pakistani Muslim. I honestly do not give a ** about what anyone thinks of me. I will live my life the way I deem fit and no one can stop me. Although, I have to say my family hasn’t put any added pressures on me and for some reason the women in my family are stronger than the men. I’m great full of my family that they allow its women to do what they want to do and I pray that all the other family’s in Pakistan follow suit. For your information to anyone who may want to degrade me or my family- I’m not a full on liberal nor am I complete conservative I just believe in living and letting others live in a peaceful society not caring about what others do but worrying about what kind of a human being I am.Recommend

  • fk

    @not impressed: I smoke in public areas, I get looks as if I’m not a woman of good character. But like I said, other peoples’ opinion doesn’t phase me. If everyone starts to care what others think of them there is no chance for any one to grow and become independent individuals.Recommend

  • sensible

    article shows the ignorrance of writer. First smoking has or had nothing to do with religion in Pak. Smoking and drinking are two things that are highly influenced by cultural norms of society. In Pakistani society women are not forced to restrain from smoking, they don’t smoke because they just don’t feel like or tempeted to smoke. Recommend

  • Insaan

    @fk: “I smoke in public areas, I get looks as if I’m not a woman of good character”

    That is you perception of what other see you as. Smoking is not a sign of strength. Many people “feel” they can’t survive without smoking and risk diseases like lung cancer and emphysema. No one can degrade any one. Would you like your kids to be chain smokers?Recommend

  • Awais

    @Qasim:
    That’s true, we should also let forced marriages and honour killings happen, it is a cultural thing and we’re better off understanding it (this is sarcasm -.-)Recommend

  • Awais

    @Sauleha:
    Not everyone is a Muslim….Recommend

  • gp65

    It is certainly true that there are double standards between men and women – but there are so many things where these double standards exist. Why pick up the one area where the double standard actually does some good for women? Why not discuss something else – if the intention was to focus on double standards and not smoking per se?Recommend

  • Farhana

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:
    Why? Does all men belongs to me? Why all the discrimination for female gender here… Its bullshitRecommend

  • http://gujrat Zalim singh
  • http://Yahoo.com shahid Butt

    Smoking is bad for both sexes. It does not discriminate between male or female. In western countries, smoking rate is dropping and in devolping world it is going up. In USA the rate has dropped a lot in the last ten yrs. We should learn from USA.Recommend

  • Sure Kant

    According to Taliban, Islam stands for equality of both sexes. They practice it too: Women suicide bombers are equally respected as the male ones. Maybe it is dangerous for their health and all “passive” victims. Only, women should wear a burkha! And other smaller things like remaining uneducated, not smoking or drinking or mixing with their male counterparts. Oh, I have a question. 72 virgins await a male suicide bomber in ‘jannat’: What about his female counterpart?Recommend

  • The Rebel

    Oh God, I can’t believe how many people there are over here who haven’t understood the point of the article AT ALL. Maybe try reading some novel first to get a better grasp at understanding English and then comment on such blogs? Please, do us a favour and really do jump off a bridge, like some reader commented on here.
    This article’s purpose is NOT to encourage smoking among the women in Pak, or the boys. If you think that then you are way off the mark. It’s only written to SHOW THE DOUBLE STANDARDS AND HYPOCRISY WHICH IS SO PREVALENT IN OUR SOCIETY, among every level. Smoking is just an example to show how the masses are quick to leap upon the judging bandwagon. Which is reserved mostly for women. And the author’s completely right, if one has to ban smoking, then do it on the account of health problems, and not because of some dopey reason like ‘Islam doesn’t permit smoking’ or any sh*t like that.
    And please, try to understand the point of the article before you take out your mighty pens and slay us all on this website.Recommend

  • The Rebel

    @Sensible: ”article shows the ignorrance of writer. First smoking has or had nothing to do with religion in Pak. Smoking and drinking are two things that are highly influenced by cultural norms of society. In Pakistani society women are not forced to restrain from smoking, they don’t smoke because they just don’t feel like or tempeted to smoke.”

    And even if they are tempted to smoke, they don’t because they’re afraid they’ll be judged by the random people they see on the streets. And the never ending tirade of comments like ‘Haww haye, kitni beghairat larki hai’ etc etc. Which is exactly the point the author is trying to make here.Recommend

  • Arsalan

    I love smoking women :)Recommend

  • Rafay

    @Turbo Lover

    Cigarettes are not intoxicants… If so, tea and coffee would also be considered intoxicant..Recommend

  • Intelektual

    @Sauleha:
    Watever “Tea” u r hooked onto plz stop for the hope of sanity and humanity ! for its not tea trust me !Recommend

  • Intelektual

    @Shah:
    Real childish comment do u know the annual sales of tobbaco related products world over ! Smoking is as real as that and since smoking was not the point of the article but the level of hypocricy even in the upper strata of society smoking was a very apt example.Recommend

  • Shagy

    how typical of our male society to make fun of a realistic social observation and rather than trying to understand what the article is about, they are focusing on whether or not a woman in Pakistan should smoke….and comparing it with rural women who smoke hukkah is ridiculous! dont you see thats the discrimination women face at the hand of our society…it is OK to smoke hukkah for a village woman, but a girl from city will be JUDGED everytime she is seen smoking in public. I am appalled at the statements by some readers here saying that women should not smoke in public….WHY?!

    I like the article and am glad someone wrote about this and people who are criticizing it without even understanding it and yet commenting it, should just click on some other link

    Note to the writer: If you’ve got haters, you are doing something right! :-)Recommend

  • FK

    If my kids are of certain age i have no right to stop them, i can try advising them but ultimitaley it’s their life as long as they are good human beings i dont care what bad habits they carry @Insaan: Recommend

  • Ed

    @RS:
    Well ! its been oepning sold and purchased everywhere in Pakistan. So who says its prohibited . It’s been obserevd in all the social gatherings as well- True that if a lady is smoking in our country people steer at her as if she has committed a crime. But people have 3 known habits, scratching ,steering and spitting all over – so never mind.Recommend

  • Muhammard Rizwan Ali

    The Pakistani women, are most inocent women in the world, they can not live their life as per their wish,
    95% women, just do so much work at home, whole day they do so much hard work for their children,husband, and some time in night also, just to get two times meal.
    Some women works in offices,factories, all te time men are after them, with bad eyes.

    I am agree ,women should live their life, no harm to smooke.Why only man can smooke.
    The 65 years old Mullah, can marry with 20 years Girls, every Liberty is only for men, why…Recommend

  • Pakistani

    LOL, checkout your Sheesha Cafes.. Universities… Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com Anoop

    There is this irritating habit of most Muslim societies to turn all topics into a question of acceptability in Islam.

    Islam pervades all parts of life in all Muslim societies. You might say it is a good thing, but its actually now.

    That is why you get questions like “Does Islam permit smoking?” “Does Islam permit Burqas?”
    “Who is a Kafir?”Recommend

  • EYM

    If you want to smoke, just do it. What do you want, a medal for it?Recommend

  • Amna Hasan

    @Pessimist:

    I agree with whatever you had to say but dude are you a friend /relative /significant other of the author ? ;pRecommend

  • not impressed

    @fk:
    I understand your point but I just don’t like to attract unwarranted attention, that’s all. I’ve also smoked in the wierdest of places and blown smoke on staring men but can’t do that all the time now. Recommend

  • TrueBlue43

    nobody sympathizes with the poor bother / husband standing with the puffing lady …… the kinda looks he gets …… ahhhhh!!!!!!!Recommend

  • Insaan

    Smoking while pregnant increases the possibility of still birth, miscarriage and low birth weight…..Recommend

  • Waqas Sajid

    Yes! It is, and it should be banned for both men and women. But specifically talking about the women it looks very odd while women doing so either publically or privately. Actually the mothers are more responsible for the grooming of their childs….SO IT SHOULD BE BANNED AND DISCOURGED BY OUR SOCIETY….Recommend

  • Gulaabdeen

    “and, of course, if she smokes, she probably drinks, too.”

    agreed. for those of you who disagree with the author think again. Women who smoke in this society are automatically labeled ‘kharab’ whereas men aren’t. Drinking is more acceptable for men than smoking is for women in many parts of society. I’m not saying smoking should be encouraged, it is definitely bad for health. But the level of repulsion in Pakistan for a smoking woman is not justifiable. Also, women endorse these stereotypes. So i blame women equally if not more. Recommend

  • Absurdist

    Interesting and good article.Being a Pakistani absurdist (an ENDANGERED SPECIES I suppose) and a smoker I want to ask all of you people(who are absorbed into this meaningless life) that if somebody smokes and get health deterioration and other doesn’t smoke and lives a little longer. How the non-smoker is better when both are going to die sooner or later???And what about the pleasure of smoking(in my humble opinion pleasure is the price in exchange for health decay). I am a medical doctor and willingly ready to pay the price in exchange for the pleasure of smoking because living 4 or 5 years more or less is as absurd and meaningless as this existence is. When somebody becomes to know the REALITY that their is no REALITY anti-smoking campaign looks like a burlesque and gender discrimination on the basis of smoking seems funny. Carpe diem all smokers ,men and women.Recommend

  • Nope

    Not so much banned as really unsexy. Nothing worse than cuddling up to someone who smells like they’ve had a bath in an ashtray. Not to mention those really attractive yellow nails and teeth(!!)…ooh and my utter favourite the half an hour they spend every morning coughing up the residual mucus of the night before(!!)…GRIM!!…..definitely go for a healthy non smoker every time!

    Pretty sure the ladies feel like this about us too guys, it’s time we took a good look at ourselves.Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Rafay: “Cigarettes are not intoxicants… If so, tea and coffee would also be considered intoxicant..”

    Cigarette smoke has over a dozen chemicals that are known to cause cancer. Second hand smoke can also cause cancer. If you smoke please don’t smoke around your kids or other people.Recommend

  • shaikh israr

    u know smoking causes cancer, its dangers but not only woman,,,, Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Absurdist: I am a medical doctor and willingly ready to pay the price in exchange for the pleasure of smoking because living 4 or 5 years more or less is as absurd and meaningless as this existence is.

    What about pleasure of Cocaine? Pleasure from Cocaine may be much more intense. Do you support people who use Cocaine? Are you going to try Cocaine, LSD? Drug addicts are even willing to give up 40-50 years of their lives. What if your brother, father or son may say the same thing? What exactly gives you pleasure? Is it the smoke or the nicotine or……?Recommend

  • schizophrenic

    “Do not eat Imli, you are male”, somebody advised me the other day. This is hypocrisy, double even triple standards.
    And, yes, I confess today that I eat,
    Haan main baghi hoon.Recommend

  • Absurdit

    @ Insaan

    What somebody does out of free will should not be my business if it doesn’t affect me. But my brother doing drugs affects me as well. You know a Pakistan Absurdist or Nihilist cannot be of pure type.LOLs. Still family bondage is like shackles for South Asian people. Honestly I am against harder drugs they are meant for destruction of humanity as a whole.I mean if freely allowed and unchecked they can destroy mankind. By that logic a big NO for heroine & cocaine. But tobacco has been smoked for centuries.and still roughly 40-50 male population smokes but not that it is a great threat against society.by that logic tobacco is a personal choice and cocaine and heroine is not.
    Obviously it is nicotine which interferes with your metabolism(CNS stimulant) and relieves you from stress(temporarily) and provides very mild euphoria and relief. What’s the point??Recommend

  • Think_therefore

    Smoking is bad for health…. gender does not matter. This is a particularly childish article and I wonder why it was ever published in the newspaper.

    I am sure that not all men who smoke are proud of what they do… and if women just want to emulate this behavious to satisfy their “shaana bashaana” syndrome then it just goes on to proove how silly they are…Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Absurdit: “Obviously it is nicotine which interferes with your metabolism(CNS stimulant) and relieves you from stress(temporarily) and provides very mild euphoria and relief. What’s the point??”

    Well we create “stress” most of the times? Do you think a tablet of nicotine could do the dame thing for smokers as a cigarette? There are other ways to get mild euphoria and relief, why use the one that can cause harm in the long run.

    For a smoker, a day without smoking may be euphoric and full of joy when his lungs get to breath fresh air for the whole day,Recommend

  • islooboy

    women of many low caste slum dwellers smoke hashish and also in rural areas manu women smoke in islamabad you will often find the maids and sweeper women smoking hash though middle class women dont smoke i saw women in my village in sialkot smoking paki ciggretteRecommend

  • abdullah

    @Pessimist:
    Glad to see that u r TEACHING english to the IDIOTIC people (in ur terms) of pakistan (read as ET readers!!)..
    Since when u have been residing in Pakistan??or u just wake up today?? where in the world u wont find discrimination in the society?? we live in pakistan where there are cultural taboos, and v all know it..nobody is supporting these taboos but these are the norms..if u want to live a wstern lifestyle there are plenty of place where u can enjoy it..but if u want to roam around in bikinis in temples/ masjids/ churches, i guess there are few norms, or call them manners.. so stop going into this hysterical state of Depression and get used to of the real life (leave that milkshake on the table) ;)Recommend

  • Insaan

    @schizophrenic: “Do not eat Imli, you are male”, somebody advised me the other day. This is hypocrisy, double even triple standards.”

    There is a belief that imli (Tamarind) helps making breasts bigger in girls. You can search Tamarind and breasts on the Internet.

    There is no scientific proof that it does. Women do it things like lemon pickle, imli to deal with nausea during pregnancy.

    You can keep eating imli without any fear.Recommend

  • khan

    Women from all classes in Pakistan smoke. Students smoke. House-maids smoke. Sweepers smoke. I do not know where this author got her ideas from? Recommend

  • josh

    Smoking is just a lethal killer full stop. Women who smoke are looked as worse because of their reproductive system being affected which makes them less desirable than woman who has never smoked by men. So women have to decide.. die a loser, or live to prosper.. Recommend