A ban on serving hookah in the Capital has been a debated issue for months. But now, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has proposed a ban on hookah bars and cafes in Delhi and other metros, saying, “They (these places) encourage tobacco consumption among youngsters”. In Gurgaon and Faridabad, the ban was imposed five months ago.
Delhi’s café and bar owners, however, do not agree with the recommendation and say not everyone serves harmful hookahs. “Statutory warnings such as those on cigarettes and alcohol should be put for hookah sales too, but banning it is no solution. Also, we sell herbal hookahs which are of no harm,” says Priyank Sukhija of cafe Out of the Box. Naveen Garg of Spasso says, “Banning hookah will adversely affect our sales. We sell herbal hookahs. Why ban those?”
Amit Suri, co-owner of restaurant Barka, has another suggestion: “Instead (of the ban), consumption of hookah should be restricted to open air spaces and hefty fines should be levied if rules are flouted ... a ban on hookahs will only curb the revenue of the hospitality industry. People will still buy it and do it at home.” But not everyone is against WHO’s proposal. Lavpreet Singh of Café Cruise says, “A ban will change our business dynamics, but WHO must have said it for the welfare of citizens, so I don’t see any harm in banning hookahs.”