If you are a smoker and you are going to travel to Iran, don’t worry about the smoking regulations! There is no specific restriction on smoking in Iran. Although smoking is prohibited in Islam, there is no regulation against smoking cigarettes in Iran.
In Iran, it is quite usual to see people smoking cigarette in the streets, even in public places like cafes and restaurants. If you have any doubt about smoking in a specific place while traveling to different cities in Iran, simply look at people around you, or just ask about it.
You may even see women smoking cigarette in public in Iran, too, especially in Tehran where it is totally acceptable; it may not be so common, though, and it might be surprising for locals in smaller cities.
You can buy cigarettes easily in most groceries, supermarkets, and at the small kiosks by the streets, at a really cheap price. Among most of the occidental brands of cigarettes, “Bahman” is a typical Iranian brand.
Smoking “Qalyân” (Hookah)
Whether you are a smoker or not, you might appreciate smoking traditional “Qalyân” in Iran. Qalyân is the Persian word for “Hookah”. It is an instrument for vaporizing and smoking flavored tobacco, with its vapor or smoke passing through a water basin—often glass-based—before inhalation.
Nowadays, it is used in different flavors like mulberry, watermelon, etc., and is usually served with tea and rock candy. It’s part of the pure Iranian culture to serve Qalyân in gatherings with family or friends, and even on picnics.
It’s also available in traditional restaurants. Some of the specific Qalyân places may be for men only, while it’s perfectly fine for women to smoke Qalyân at restaurants, too.
In some countries, it may be called “shisha”; however, this word is used for methamphetamine (crystal) in Persian that is used as a recreational drug! So, it is better not to use this word for Qalyân in Iran.