Updated: July 6, 2018 7:21:00 am
The Chandigarh health department has sent a proposal to the UT district magistrate (DM) suggesting that hookah bars be banned in the city. The department has cited the example of Punjab, where hookah bars have been banned across the state since 2015.
A senior health department official told Chandigarh Newsline on Thursday that the proposal was recently sent to the DM’s office, which has the authority to promulgate Section 144 CrPC to shut hookah bars.
In Punjab, the district magistrates have been invoking Section 144 for two months to ban hookah bars and extend the notification once it expires. In Chandigarh, there are around 10 hookah bars.
Health officials said in the proposal, sent last month, they have asked whether the ban can be implemented on the same lines. “The Chandigarh district magistrate can issue a notification for a limited time and then extend the order,” said the senior health official.
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According to the UT health department, in the proposal, it has been stated that mostly youngsters visit these hookah bars and ultimately it is their health that gets affected.
“In the past, when inspections were carried out, the teams found traces of nicotine in the samples of hookah tobacco which is very harmful for health. The administration has taken action against the violators for selling nicotine, but the permanent solution is only to shut the hookah bars,” said the health official. He added that there was no age bar at hookah bars which become a possible source of smoking addiction among young people.
The Chandigarh health department has been raiding hookah bars under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) Act, 2003. The law was brought by the government to control the use of tobacco in the country. There is no provision under COTPA under which hookah bars can be completely shut in the city.
According to health records, four hookah bars were sealed in the city in 2016-17 after inspection revealed that these bars had been violating rules.
Till October last year, 24 raids were conducted across the city jointly by the Tobacco Control Cell Punjab and Chandigarh Police, said officials.
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