The Capital is big on partying in style and the one quintessential prop at all such swanky Delhi parties is the hookah, a.k.a. sheesha. Not anymore though because the Delhi Government and Municipal Corporations just slapped a ban on all hookah bars across the city, cancelling all hookah bars’ licenses with immediate effect.
No More Hookah Bars
According to Health Minister Satyendar Jain, hookah smoking in non-smoking as well as smoking zones is a criminal offence as per Section 4 of COTPA (Cigarette and other Tobacco Products Act). He added that back in May the Centre had issued a notice with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare completely prohibiting the use of hookahs.
“Hookah bars in any form are illegal and Delhi Police and the Municipal Corporations should cancel the licenses of such restaurants, eateries and hotels where such illegal Hookah bars are operating,” Jain said, adding that the State Tobacco Control Cell has carried out several raids in various parts of Delhi, and the chemical analysis “has shown presence of nicotine in significant amount in almost all the samples”, despite the owners’ claims that herbal products were being used.
Hookah Is Not Better Than Cigarettes
Hookah has for long been a part of rural culture, where elders usually smoke the tobacco-based instrument. However, over the past few years, it has crossed rural boundaries and gained a special place in the hearts – and lungs – of the urban youth, who are often under the misconception that smoking a hookah is safer than smoking a cigarette.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an hour-long hookah session includes roughly 200 puffs, which compares to 30 puffs of a cigarette. So for the record, you are not doing your lungs any good by puffing a hookah instead of a cigarette.
“A series of letters have been written to the Delhi Police and municipal bodies in the last four years to initiate action against these illegally running hookah bars and save the younger generation from the harmful effects of tobacco. However, the action is still awaited and the violations are still going on in many parts of Delhi,” Jain said.