New Delhi: Punjab government on Monday imposed a permanent ban on hookah bars across the state citing diseases caused by use of tobacco-related products. Previously, the government used to issue temporary orders against such establishments.
In a bid to fight against smoking-related diseases, the state government decided a permanent ban on bars offering hookah is a far more viable solution than any stop-gap arrangement of temporary orders. Such orders were previously issued every two months. Enforcing these orders too was not very effective but now with a blanket ban, checking is expected to be more comprehensive. The Punjab cabinet approved an ammedment to the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, to prevent and control diseases caused by the use of tobacco products.
(Also read: Delhi hookah bars come under government scanner)
Several medical studies - both in India and in countries elsewhere - have busted the myth that smoking hookah is harmless. Also known as sheesha, hookahs are essentially water pipes which are used to smoke flavoured tobacco. A small bowl with the tobacco is placed on the water pipe and heated charcoal is put on top of the bowl to make the entire ensemble work. Puffing on a hookah though is believed to be every bit as dangerous because most inhale the smoke straight to their lungs. Social activists and medical experts though mostly agree that what makes hookahs most dangerous is that it is considered stylish and that there is very little awareness about its harmful effects on the human body.