Ban soon on hookahs in public places

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n an apparent attempt to curb the use of hookahs in public places like hotels, parlours and restaurants, the state government is expected to add a new provision to the Bombay Shops and Establishment Act. Officials said it will be mandatory for all licenced shops which are registered under this Act will not be allowed to sell hookah in public places.

According to the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003, consumption of tobacco in public places is banned. In fact, many hookah bars are registered in the name of eateries only, which is a violation of rules as they are brazenly selling hookah.

“The issue was raised in a meeting which was held in the first week of August by the health department, in which suggestions were given for adding a new provision in the Bombay Shops and Establishment Act,” a senior official said. Currently, there are no norms for restraining and even schoolchildren are seen frequenting these parlours. Some parlours also run under in the name of a cafe or an eatery.

We have recommended making a change in the Act so that no shop can sell hookah in a public place. Eateries procure a licence from a corporation for smoking zone then later they also start supplying hookah openly,” said Dr Sadhna Tayde, Joint Director of the Directorate of Health Services (DHS).

A senior official said the state government will constitute a committee to look into the issue. The committee will include representatives of many departments like health, urban development, environment and law and judiciary as the issue is complex and has largescale implications for health and environment.

“Once we get the final nod from the government, a circular will be sent to all the municipal corporations to implement this Act in their respective areas. Moreover, officials will be sent to cross-check all shops and if they are found selling hookah, the licence of the shops will be cancelled,” added Dr Tayde. The government has already banned dance bars in the city and it is scutunising licence applications after a court order.

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