The Health Department today conducted raids in different parts of the city to find violations in hookah bars in the city. A total of 23 challans were issued to minors and even majors for smoking in public and also in no smoking zones.
Hookah bars One happy Bean (OHB),40 Thieves,Capuccino were raided where the authorities did not find any record of age groups. As per instructions,consumption of tobacco is banned for youngsters less than 18 years old.
District Epidemiologist Dr Jasbir Singh,however,said,We found many youngsters who looked less than 18 years of age in these hookah bars.
The team first went to Dandi Swami Chowk where they fined and challaned persons for smoking in public. They were smoking near the temple whereas one is not supposed to smoke within 200 m of any religious place, he pointed out.
District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Kulwinder Singh said,At OHB boys and girls were found smoking and there was no demarcation of smoking or no smoking zones. Many of them appeared to be minors and we could not find any register in OHB,which specified which age groups were allowed inside the bar.
At the 40 Thieves hookah bar located in Dugri,hookah inhalation was going on in the no smoking zone and here too several minors were found,added Dr Jasbir.
At Ansal Plaza,another hookah bar Capuccino was raided where no customer were found. However,the enclosures inside the bar were very dingy and dark.
Hookah bar Arabic Infusion at Kitchlunagar was found closed. Dr Singh said that repeated raids would be conducted in a bid to to stop smoking in public and also to stop the consumption of tobacco by youngsters less than 18 years old.
The Hookah bars have a social responsibility to check the identity of the youngsters entering the bars,especially their age group,pointed out Dr Singh.