Serving hookahs in bars or restaurants with poor fire safety standards and no separate fire exits continue to be a grave safety hazard.
Mumbai: Anti-tobacco activist Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, the head and neck surgeon at the Tata Memorial Hospital, has appro-ached central authorities and the state health department for a ban on hookahs in the city. He has pointed to its health hazards for youngsters and has asked for its ban under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003 (COTPA).
Serving hookahs in bars or restaurants with poor fire safety standards and no separate fire exits continue to be a grave safety hazard. In the recent Kamala Mill fire incident, 14 persons had died of suffocation in a fire that reportedly started from a eatery that was serving hookah.
Talking to The Asian Age, Dr Chaturvedi said, “While the government had failed to curb the hookah culture, hookah smokers are to be equally blamed. They don’t just harm themselves, but also the people around them through fire hazard and second hand smoke,” he added.
Dr Chaturvedi further said that after the recent fire episode, he has written a letter to senior authorities in central as well as state government to ban hookah, and that it should be included in the COPTA. “The COPTA definition does not include the term hookah and the parlours contend that they are not serving tobacco in hookahs, pushing it out of the gamut of the legislation,” he said.
According to state health officials, “The state government is planning to ban hookah parlours, considering its health hazardous.”