Manmeet Singh Gill

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 5

Health officials have warned hotels, restaurants and bars against serving hookah to customers. They said action would be taken if the same is found at any place.

During a drive to check the quality of cooking oil at a number of eateries recently, the officials had found that hookah was being served to customers. District Health Officer Dr Lakhbir Singh Bhagowalia said, “We found that a bar was serving hookah. Most of the customers were teenagers. We let them go with a warning and confiscated hookahs.”

Baghowalia said that the use of hookahs at eating and drinking places was banned. Since smoking hookah is among the latest fads for youngsters, a number of such places have mushroomed across the city where it is served.

Earlier, the deputy commissioner had imposed a ban on hookahs under Section 144 of the CrPC. Health officials stated that the sale and serving of hookah was also prohibited under Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSAA) and Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

Most of such customers are underage and they are influenced by social media. As the hookahs contain nicotine, which is addictive, youngsters gradually take up smoking cigarettes and consuming other tobacco products, said Bhagowalia. He said the use of flavoured or any other kind of tobacco in the form of hookah smoking was not allowed.

Health officials have also appealed to the parents to keep a check on the activity of their wards to know if they are into any bad habit. An eye should be kept to make sure they don’t smoke hookah during parties or outings with friends.

“The chances of a teenager graduating to cigarette smoking are more if he or she is smoking hookah,” he added.

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