Chandigarh, May 26
The UT Administration has imposed a comprehensive ban on the operation of hookah bars in the city by enforcing stricter punishment for defiance of the orders, including imprisonment up of to three years and a fine up to Rs 50,000.
Violators face up to 3-yr jail
- Violators face jail for no less than one year and up to three years
- Can be fined ranging from Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000
- Authorised officers, not below SI rank, can seize materials
The administration had previously taken measures to restrict the proliferation of hookah bars through periodic orders issued by the district magistrate under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
In a gazette notification issued on May 15, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, extended the “Cigarettes and other Tobacco products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) (Punjab Amendment) Act, 2018” to Chandigarh. This notification completely prohibits the operation of hookah bars in the UT, encompassing all establishments, including eating houses. The term “eating house” refers to any place where food or non-alcoholic beverages are served to casual visitors, excluding alcoholic beverages.
Violation of the notification carries severe consequences, with individuals found guilty of operating or serving hookahs in defiance of the ban facing imprisonment for a period not less than one year and up to three years. Further, the penalty includes a fine ranging from Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000.
The administration has authorised officers, not below the rank of Sub-Inspector, to seize materials or articles associated with hookah bars.
The move comes in response to growing concerns over detrimental effects of smoking hookah, which contains harmful substances such as nicotine, known to be carcinogenic.
Hookah bars are seen as a medium of enticing youths towards smoking, which poses a significant health risk. The water used in hookahs does not effectively filter out toxic chemicals, and the sharing of the same device among multiple smokers increases the risk of transmitting infectious diseases. Additionally, the charcoal used to heat the tobacco in hookahs further compounds the issue by producing smoke that contains carbon monoxide, metals, and cancer-causing chemicals.
The health authorities have issued a stern warning against any contravention of the prohibition, emphasising strict action would be taken against individuals involved in any activities related to hookah bars within the UT.
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