The Delhi government has banned hookah bars in the city and has asked the Delhi Police and the Municipal Corporations to immediately cancel licenses of restaurants with hookah bars.
Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Tuesday said that hookah smoking is not allowed in non-smoking zones as per Section 4 of COTPA (Cigarette and other Tobacco Products Act), as well as in the smoking zones.
He said that the Centre had issued notification in May with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare completely prohibiting the use of hookahs.
“Therefore, hookah bars in any form are illegal and Delhi Police and the Municipal Corporations should cancel the licenses of such restaurants, eateries and hotels where such illegal Hookah bars are operating,” Jain said.
Jain said that the State Tobacco Control Cell has conducted several raids in various parts of Delhi, and the chemical analysis picked “has shown presence of nicotine in significant amount in almost all the samples”.
This is despite the claim that they were using herbal products.
“In this regard, a series of letters have been written to the Delhi Police and municipal bodies in the last four years to initiate action against these illegally running hookah bars and save the younger generation from the harmful effects of tobacco.
“However, the action is still awaited and the violations are still going on in many parts of Delhi,” he said.
Hookah is a popular choice of smoking, especially with the elderly, in the rural areas. But over the last few years it has gained popularity among the urban youth.
“People consider hookah a safe alternative to smoking without realising that it is even more harmful and has an adverse impact on their health.
“According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a one hour long hookah session comprises 200 puffs compared to 30 puffs of a cigarette,” Jain said.