CHANDIGARH: After Gujarat, Punjab Government has today decided to impose a permanent ban on Hookah bars in the state instead of issuing temporary orders against them every two months.
The state cabinet today approved an amendment to the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA 2003), for the prevention and control of diseases caused by the use of tobacco products. The move is aimed at reducing the trend of hookah bars, besides use of tobacco in various forms amongst youngsters.
The amendment would result in a complete ban on running of Hookah Bars in the state. The proposed amendment will be placed before the Vidhan Sabha and, after being passed by the House, will be reserved for the assent of the President of India.
Under the present scheme of things, Section 144 of CrPC is promulgated against Hookah Bars in all the districts of the states for two months, with extension required at the end of the period. The extension orders are issued every two months by the district administration, providing a temporary solution to the menace of hookah bars, which encourage use of tobacco among youngsters, leading to potential health hazards.
As per available data, an hour’s average of hookah smoking contains 20-200 puffs which can deliver 50 litres (which is about 13 gallons) of smoke, containing harmful and carcinogenic chemicals. Health risks of smoking Hookah includes exposure to toxic chemicals that are not filtered out by the water, and also risk of infectious disease like Tuberculosis resulting from sharing of Hookah. The Hookah tobacco addiction often ends up becoming a trigger for other drug addiction.
In the last few months the state government had carried out raids at hookah bars in Jalandhar, Amritsar, Nayagaon and Dhakoli in Mohali district from where the collected samples had tested positive for nicotine.
Earlier the health department had sought legal advice from the law department in this regard.
Already Gujarat had banned these bars in the state as it had passed the COTPA Amendment Bill, 2017, banning hookah bars and it attracts a maximum jail term of three years.