President of India Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to a Bill from the state to check use of tobacco. Punjab is the third state in the country after Gujarat and Maharashtra where hookah bars or lounges were banned through law.
The President has given assent to the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018.
The Punjab assembly had passed the Bill in March. The objective of bringing the law is to check the use of tobacco in various forms and prevent diseases caused by the use of the tobacco products.
Hookah bars are establishments where people share ‘sheesha’ from a ‘hookah’ which is placed at each table or a bar. The hookah has a long pipe for smoking that passes smoke through a container of water to cool it. There were complaints of use of drugs in these bars in Punjab. The official said as per available data, an hour’s average of hookah smoking contains 20-200 puffs, which can deliver 50 litres of smoke, containing harmful and carcinogenic chemicals.
Smoking of hookah increases health risks includes exposure to toxic chemicals that are not filtered out by the water, and also the risk of infectious disease like tuberculosis resulting from sharing a hookah.