Hookah bars in Chandigarh have been legally banned by the Central government . Earlier, the Chandigarh Administration was restricting the menace of hookah bars in UT Chandigarh through periodic orders issued by the District Magistrate under Section 144 of CrPC, in the absence of any legislation.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India, vide gazette notification dated May 15, 2023 has extended “the Cigarettes and other Tobacco products (Prohibition of advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018 to the Union Territory of Chandigarh.
This notification has completely prohibited hookah bars in UT Chandigarh. Now no person shall, either on his own or on behalf of any other person, open or run any hookah bar or serve hookah to customers in any place, including any eating house. Here the term ‘eating house’ means any place where food or refreshment of any kind, not including spirits, wines, ale, beer or other malt liquors, are provided for casual visitors, and sold for consumption therein.
In case of violation of the notification, the person shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three years but which shall not be less than one year and with fine which may extend to Rs 50,000 but which shall not be less than Rs 20,000. Further, an Officer not below the rank of Sub-Inspector, authorised by the Chandigarh Administration, may seize any material or article used as subject or means of hookah bar.
The Chandigarh Administration has warned of strict action on persons who are found/involved in the activities relating to hookah bar in UT Chandigarh.
Harmful effects of Hookah Bars
Health risks of smoking hookah include exposure to toxic chemicals that are not filtered out through water and also there is a risk of infectious diseases as the same is shared by a large number of smokers. The charcoal is used in hearth tobacco in the hookah which further increases the risk of producing smoke that contains carbon monoxide, metals and cancer-causing chemicals.
The exposure to tobacco/nicotine during adolescence can harm brain development. Hookah/sheesha bar are just like drug consumption rooms and are a new threat to our youth.