Published: 2018-05-14 23:02
Last Updated: 2018-05-14 23:20
Editor: Arwad Khalifeh
Here’s something unheard of in Amman: a non-smoking event! I know, I was as shocked as you are now when I first learned about the city’s first Non-Smoking Band Night - I might even have screamed a little. Naturally, being the extreme anti-smoker that I am, I couldn’t miss it.
Ironically, I had to walk through a smokey bar to get to the non-smoking event. But that’s OK; I was willing to brave it through a smoke fog for a few meters until I reached my pollution-free oasis. Just as I was about to step foot into the venue, my brain alerted me: “What will it actually smell like in here, without the bitter cigarette smell masking all other odours?” Surprisingly, it smelt quite pleasant, perfumed even.
It was so liberating to be on a night out without having to worry about smelling like an ashtray or coughing all evening; the only thing I had to “worry” about was my awkward dance moves!
The second surprise was the good turnout for the concert. Dozens of men and women were dancing, chatting and cheering on the many bands who performed that evening. I didn’t think I had that many fellow non-smokers in Jordan. Where have they all been hiding? Doesn’t matter. The place was lit. The event was a success. See? You don’t have to smoke to have a good time; you just need good music and good company.
The organizer, Hazem Bawab, had a broad smile on his face, because he knew that he was one step closer towards successfully hosting more non-smoking nights, and possibly inspiring other businesses to follow suit.
“I’ve found it repeatedly difficult to handle the smoke during my outings. I would go home and my chest would ache for days because of all the smoke. It wasn’t even worth going out anymore. So the reason why this event happened is because I wanted to take matters into my own hands,” Hazem told me.
The driven event-planner rented out Friday’s venue from a friend, contacted several bands and the rest was history.
“Many of the bands who performed at the event didn’t ask for money, they supported my cause so they performed for free,” Hazem said, adding that “150 people turned up, which is a great deal to be able to fill up such an event on the last Friday before Ramadan, when many other popular events were taking place on the same night.”
Hats off to Hazem. Chapeau to everyone who turned up. Kudos to the bands who believed in his cause. Amman’s nightlife crowd is clearly willing to spend some of its hard-earned cash on a smoke-free event, which brings me to my next point: Hazem is now looking to raise funds to host more non-smoking events through his company, HBMusic, in Amman.
If these events were to become a “thing,” we can look forward to seeing more people quit smoking, less people getting hospitalized for smoking-related diseases, increasing the awareness of passive smoking, and encouraging more young people to kick the habit.
If you’re interested in supporting this worthy cause, contact Hazem Bawab on [email protected]