'Delhi State Tobacco Control Board has banned Hookah bars'
NEW DELHI: BJP MLA and general secretary of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) Manjinder Singh Sirsa has claimed that the Delhi State Tobacco Control (DSTBC) has ordered closure of all Hookah bars in national Capital. Sirsa further elaborated that Delhi State Tobacco Control has completely prohibited the use of Hookah in Delhi .Consequently, there will be no hookah bars in Delhi.
According to well-placed Delhi government sources, it has written to Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik seeking appropriate action against hookah bars which are being run illegally in the national capital. Referring to previous communications in this regard along with letter numbers and dates, Additional Director (Health) S K Arora said that despite repeated requests for action, hookah bars are still running in various restaurants, eatery houses and hotels "illegally" in several parts of the city.
Sirsa said that for the last four months, "We have been trying to spread awareness about Hookah smoking which causes potential health effects, particularly among the young boys and girls. The fact that hookah contains harmful chemicals including carbon monoxide, metals and cancer-causing chemicals makes it lethal for the younger lot. The public too has shown its disapproval for such Hookah Bars in Delhi."
"We have communicated to Delhi Police on several occasions in the last four years that a large number of hookah bars are running in various restaurants, eatery houses and hotels all over Delhi which are illegal and spoiling the younger generation by making them addicted to nicotine and other harmful material," Arora said in his letter.
He said that hookah smoking is not allowed in non-smoking zones as per section 4 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 (COTPA). A recent notification from the ministry of health completely prohibits use of hookah even in smoking zones also.
Arora said that most of the owners of these hookah bars claim that they were using herbal materials but the seized material from these hookah bars during several raids showed the presence of nicotine in a significant amount in all the samples during chemical analysis. "This clearly indicates that in the name of herbs, they are using nicotine alone or as an additive to these herbal mixtures so that people have the urge for repetition and ultimately get trapped in the addicting potential of nicotine," the letter said.
Certain areas from where there were repeated complaints such as Connaught Place, Hauz Khaz village, Rajouri Garden, Janakpuri district centre, Greater Kailash 1 and 2, Defence Colony, cinema theatres and various shopping malls may be raided extensively in view of open violations, it said. Arora urged the police commissioner to issue instructions to the district police headquarters to conduct raids on all such restaurants and hotels to completely ban the use of hookah in Delhi and protect the younger generation from the menace of tobacco.
Arora further sought the cancellation of licenses of such hookah bars which he said were issued by Delhi Police and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).