Nagpur: City police chief SP Yadav has put to rest all speculations regarding the legality of hookah parlours running in the city. “There is no legal sanction to carry out such a business as smoking in whatever form is banned in public places,” he said.
The top cop also pointed out that hookah joints are liable to face actions irrespective of the fact whether they are using plain or flavoured tobacco, or any other substance.
Yadav also underlined the fact that tobacco is dangerous to health more for passive smokers. “Police often take actions against hookah parlours under Bombay Police Act but the punishment is hardly a deterrent,” he said.
The CP said that police department has given permission to no hookah parlours to conduct business in city. “In Mumbai and Pune, hookah joints have become a menace but not so much in Nagpur where it may be considered as a growing trend,” said Yadav.
Police sources said that Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places Rules, 2008 and Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA) underlined the fact that hookah cannot be enjoyed seating in any restaurant.
Supreme Court has also earlier prohibited smoking in public places. The rule, however, contradicts a provision followed by the Food and Drugs Administration Department which states that restaurants having a seating capacity of more than 30 can earmark a ‘smoking zone’ with chimney facility within their premises.
In 2012, the then home minister RR Patil had assured in the assembly in Mumbai that a policy would be drawn up to regulate hookah parlours but nothing has been so far achieved in that direction, it is learnt.
A former hookah parlour patron said that it is not necessary that hookah may contain tobacco but overdoing it may cause harm as it involves the inhaling of dense flavoured smoke that may injure the respiratory system in someway or the other.
“There are joints which clandestinely add nicotine and some composites into the flavors,” he said.