Punjab: Hookah bars permanently banned as President Kovind okays Bill
(Sourced from PTI)
Hookah bars have been permanently banned in Punjab as President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to a Bill from the state to check use of tobacco. Punjab is the third state in the country after Gujarat and Maharashtra where hookah bars or lounges have been banned through law. The Punjab Assembly had passed the Bill in March.
President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018 recently, a Home Ministry official said.
The objective of bringing the law is to check the use of tobacco in various forms and prevent diseases caused by the use of tobacco products. Hookah bars are establishments where people share 'sheesha' from a 'hookah' placed at each table or a bar. The hookah has a long pipe for smoking that passes smoke through a container of water to cool it.
There were complaints of use of drugs in hookah bars in Punjab, an official said. The official said as per available data, an hour's average of hookah smoking contains 20-200 puffs, which can deliver 50 liters of smoke, containing harmful and carcinogenic chemicals.
Smoking of hookah increases health risks, including exposure to toxic chemicals that are not filtered out by water, and the risk of infectious disease like tuberculosis resulting from sharing a hookah, another official said. Punjab Health Minister Brahm Mohindra, who had moved the Bill in the Assembly, had said there was a new trend of 'hookah-sheesha' smoking and it has been increasing day-by-day.
These hookah bars are being opened in restaurants, hotels, and clubs and hookahs are even served at marriages venues. The youth, including girls, are using hard and soft drugs in the hookah and 'sheesha' bars, Mohindra had said. "The most harmful ingredient in hookah is nicotine, which is known to be carcinogenic," the Punjab Health Minister had said.
"Hookah/sheesha bars are just like drug consumption rooms and they are a new threat to our youth. The owners of such cafes are providing every facility to our youth for soft drug addiction in a very comfortable and friendly atmosphere," Mohindra said.