Licences of Delhi hotels, eateries serving hookah to be cancelled | delhi news | Hindustan Times
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Licences of Delhi hotels, eateries serving hookah to be cancelled

Several Delhi hotels are found illegally providing tobacco to customers in the garb of herbal materials.

delhi Updated: Nov 01, 2017 10:34 IST
Anonna Dutt
Hookah smoking was banned in non-smoking zones after the amendment to COTPA that prohibits smoking in public in May 2017.
Hookah smoking was banned in non-smoking zones after the amendment to COTPA that prohibits smoking in public in May 2017.(File Photo)

Now, restaurants in Delhi can lose their licence for serving hookah.

The Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain on Tuesday told the Delhi Police and the civic bodies to cancel licences of restaurants or eateries serving hookah on their premises.

“As per the Section 4 of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), smoking of any tobacco product in a non-smoking zone is prohibited. And a Union government notification in May clearly said no services are to be provided inside smoking zones, including hookahs,” said Dr S.K. Arora, state tobacco control officer.

Hookah is considered to be a service as it is on menu and is provided by the restaurants, unlike cigarettes that can be consumed in smoking zones of restaurants.

Read: Cigarettes vs hookahs: Which do you think will kill you sooner?

“The new notification makes serving hookah illegal within and even outside smoking zones. So the government does not need to institute a ban to take action against the restaurants,” said Dr Arora.

Another way most restaurants circumvent the hookah ban is by suggesting that the mix used for smoking is herbal. “However, we have raided several eateries across the cities and all the samples that we tested contained significant amount of nicotine, clearly meaning that it is not herbal and is certainly a tobacco product,” he said.

There are nearly 300 restaurants, eateries or clubs in Delhi that currently serve hookah, mostly concentrated in Connaught Place, Hauz Khas Village, Rajouri Garden, Punjabi Bagh, Pitampura and Greater Kailash I and II.

Serving of hookah is more harmful than cigarettes. “There are several flavours available and it is easily accessible, making it attractive for the youth. These people then move on to cigarettes and other addictive substances,” said Dr Arora.

Many believe that smoking hookah carries less risk of tobacco-related illnesses as compared to smoking cigarettes, according to a 2012-CDC study. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that hookah smoking can be more dangerous because the charcoal used to heat the hookah exposes people to high levels of carbon monoxide, heavy metals and cancer-causing chemicals and an hour’s session of hookah involves 200 puffs as compared to 20 puffs while smoking a cigarette.

The police and the civic agencies have already been taking actions against eateries serving hookah, however, even before the minister’s direction.

“We take strict actions against restaurants serving hookah and have even cancelled licences,” said Dr A.K. Bansal, municipal health official at North Corporation.

“We have given warning to several restaurants and even fined them Rs 1,000-1,500 for serving hookah. Now, if we get an order, we can also cancel licences of restaurants,” said Dr N.R. Das, municipal health official at East Corporation.

“We take actions against any illegal happening whenever we receive information and have been doing so against restaurants serving hookahs too,” said Dependra Pathak, chief spokesperson, Delhi Police.

However, restaurants across the city continue to serve hookahs, flouting the norms