You will not get to smoke hookahs anywhere in the city from now on, be it in coffee shops, bistros or exclusive hookah parlours. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to implement its ban on hookahs in the city.
Civic officials on Wednesday said the crackdown would start next week. The city has 300-odd joints that offer hookahs.
The crackdown is the result of a campaign launched in 2008 by former mayor Shubha Raul, who had alleged that teenagers were
getting addicted to hookah that had nicotine. Hookah shop owners had taken the matter to court, which had asked the BMC to put in place a proper procedure before taking action. The BMC has now done that.
“Action will be initiated from next week. We will issue notices to hookah joints that breach directives and then take action,” said Manisha Mhaiskar, additional municipal commissioner (health).
“We don’t issue licences for hookah bars. Coffee shops or eating joints that serve hookah will lose their licences if they are found offering hookah,” said Dr Gaurish Ambe, BMC’s executive health officer.
The civic body is willing to make an exception for places that have a separate smoking zone where youngsters below 18 years are not permitted.
The BMC is the licencing authority if one wants to start any establishment in Mumbai.