The Gujarat Cabinet on Thursday cleared an Ordinance, which seeks to impose a total ban on hookah bars across the state. “The Gujarat cabinet today approved an ordinance to effect necessary amendments in the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) of 2003,” Minister of State for Home, Pradeepsinh Jadeja said in Gandhinagar.
Once it comes into effect, those found operating such hookah joints in violation of the law, would face stringent action, including imprisonment up to three years, he said.
“To save our youths from this deadly addiction, our government has decided to shut all the hookah bars. Running a hookah bar will be considered as a cognisable offence which would attract a fine of Rs 20,000 to 50,000 and imprisonment from one year to three years,” said Jadeja.
“Since hookah was not covered under the COTP Act, we have brought his ordinance to make necessary amendments in the act to cover all kinds of activities associated with hookah bars. Now, running a hookah bar will be considered an offence punishable under this Act,” said Jadeja.
Explaining the logic behind the ordinance, Jadeja said hookah contains 200 times more smoke than a cigarette.
“Apart from more the volume, the smoke coming out from hookah is also very toxic in comparison to cigarettes. Hookah produces hazardous chemicals, which causes cancer. Besides that, youths waste huge money to visit these hookah bars once they get addicted to it,” Jadeja said.