Karnataka HC upholds ban on hookah sale

The court said a session of hookah is more harmful than a pack of cigarettes.
Karnataka High Court.
Karnataka High Court. (File photo)

BENGALURU: To ensure public health, the Karnataka High Court upheld the February 7 notification issued by the state health and family welfare department, imposing a blanket ban on the sale of hookah in any form in public places across the state.

The court said a session of hookah is more harmful than a pack of cigarettes. Hookah sessions are said to be around an hour with an estimated 200 puffs per session, which is equivalent to 100 cigarettes.

“Every packet of cigarettes must contain a warning that it is injurious to health... but Hookah does not. Therefore, the action of the state is in strict consonance with Article 47 (obligation to ensure nutrition and improvement of the standard of living and public health) of the Constitution, apart from it being completely tenable in law,” said Justice M Nagaprasanna pronouncing the order, while rejecting a batch of petitions filed by owners of hookah places.

Legality of notification

The petitioners had questioned the legality of the notification issued under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 and the Karnataka Poisons (Possession and Sale) Rules, 2015.

It is not understandable as to why the state had kept quiet all these days to leave these places to mushroom in hundreds. It is averred that the state has about 800 hookah places/hookah bars, the court said.

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