‘Hookah bars still running near schools’

Hookah bars continue to be located near educational institutions in the city, and none of them had personnel checking the age of the customers, found an observational study conducted recently. The report also showed that the prices of hookah being sold near schools was much less than those in bars in up-market locations.

The study was conducted by MART in partnership with Consumer Voice, a consumer organisation advocating for product testing and service evaluation in India. The research team visited 40 hookah bars in Delhi in October which were identified on the basis of information from online portals and dipstick survey.

School hours

The survey found that 17% of the minors surveyed — from the age of 13 upwards — consumed hookah in these bars. The timings of visit by children and young adults in these bars coincided with school hours or immediately after.

The survey also found that service of hookah, food, drinks etc was allowed in these bars. “Some of the bars did not display the mandatory signage: ‘Tobacco smoking is harmful to your health and the health of non-smokers; and entry of person below the age of 18 years is prohibited’. These bars displayed hookah equipment inside the premises. Some of these bars also had a separate hookah menu.

Ashim Sanyal, chief operating officer, VOICE, said: “We welcome the government’s decision to ban hookah bars in Delhi. Our survey showed hookah bars continue to operate despite the restrictions. Generally, hookahs are used as accompaniments in bars and pubs and target the young adult population. The decision by NGT will help in curbing the escalation of hookah bars attracting the youths of Delhi. It is spoiling the younger generation by getting them addicted. Also, such bars or pubs provide easy access to the student population. This needs to be stopped.”

NGT order

The group, in a release on Tuesday, said that they welcome the National Green Tribunal order issuing warrants against hookah bar owners in Delhi in the case of use of tobacco of any kind in any hookah and their services to customers in restaurants/hotels.

The Bench comprising Justice Jawad Rahim, Bikram Singh Sajwan and headed by Chairman of National Green Tribunal, Justice Swatanter Kumar issued bailable warrants against the owners of 25 hookah bars who had earlier been asked to report in front of the Tribunal.

A recent notification of Government of India GSR 500(E) dated May 23, 2017 under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003(COTPA), from Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, completely prohibits use of Hookah, even in the smoking zones. Recently, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had asked the Delhi police and the municipal corporations to immediately cancel licenses of restaurants with hookah bars.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 2:50:14 AM |

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