Delhi: No hookah smoking in no-smoking or smoking zones

Similar to cigarettes, hookah smoking delivers the addictive drug nicotine and it is at least as toxic as cigarette smoking. While many hookah smokers may consider this practice less harmful than smoking cigarettes, hookah smoking carries many of the same health risks as cigarettes. Acting promptly on it, Health Minister, Satyendar Jain, has made it clear that hookah smoking is not allowed in no-smoking zone as per section 4 of COTPA (Cigarette & other Tobacco Products Act)

Hukka

Previously,  hookah was mostly used by the village elders. Today,  it has gained popularity amongst the youth. People consider hookah as 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 in a cigarette, Nonetheless a number of Hookah bars have been flourishing in the city of Delhi flouting all anti–tobacco rules and laws.

It has been noticed that hookah smoking is rampant in restaurants/eateries/hotels in metropolitan cities including Delhi these days, and has unfortunately become status symbols even in Family Functions.

Recent a notification of Government of India GSR 500(E) dated 23rd May 2017 from Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, prohibits use of hookah in the smoking zones also. Therefore, hookah bars in any form are illegal and Delhi Police and MCD should cancel the licenses of such restaurants, eateries and hotels where such illegal hookah bars are operating.

Jain stated that the State Tobacco Control Cell has conducted several raids in various parts of Delhi, and chemical analysis of picked up samples have shown presence of nicotine in significant amount in almost all the samples though originally they were claimed to be herbal in nature.

In this regard series of letters have been written to Delhi Police and MCD in 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 yet awaited and the violations are still going on in many parts of Delhi.