Taking cue from Gurgaon, Delhi government is planning to carry out inspections of hookah bars in the city to check if they are serving nicotine. According to sources, the government had received a number of complaints from resident welfare associations regarding the increasing number of young smokers. Those found violating the norms may face closure.
The anti-smoking wing of the government is planning to conduct inspection with the Delhi police. “We are planning to pick up samples from such places and get them checked in laboratories. We want to ensure that these places are not serving nicotine as it is banned in Delhi,” said health minister AK Walia.
The Delhi Police maintain that restaurants or bars serving flavoured hookah do not require license. However, if bars are found serving tobacco molasses containing nicotine, their license will be cancelled.
Restaurants and bars in the city require health license from civic bodies to serve food, the excise department gives license for serving alcohol, the fire clearance from Delhi Fire Services, and finally, the licensing wing of Delhi Police gives them a final clearance.
“Flavoured hookah centres don’t need license and hookah with nicotine are banned in Delhi. If someone is serving it, it is a violation of license. If caught, the license of that restaurant can be cancelled,” said a police official.
A hookah can cost anything between Rs 250 to Rs 1,000 in the city.
In November last year, Gurgaon had imposed a blanket ban on bars serving hookah, a number of such places were raided by the Gurgaon police too. Two hookah bars in Panchkula were asked to close shop as the quantity of nicotine in their products was found to be more than the permissible limit. The authorities are planning to come up with a new policy for running such places.