Minister of State for Public Health, Family Welfare, AYUSH and Medical Education Mahendra Hardia has taken a serious note of the news that some hookah centres are making people smoking-addicts by running their joints in the garb of coffee shops and has instructed to take stern action against them. On the instructions by the Minister of State for Health, the Health Department has send a circular to all the district collectors to form a team and conduct surprise checks on these hookah centres.
On several occasion, it was brought to the attention of Minister of State for Health Mahendra Hardia that hookah centres are in operation in many cities in the garb of coffee shops where people, especially youths, are being offered facilities for smoking. Describing this as a matter of concern, Hardia instructed the Commissioner, Health to ensure strict action against such hookah centres under the provisions of Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Action 2003.
In the circular to district collectors, the Commissioner, Health has asked them to form teams in their respective districts, conduct surprise checks at hookah centres, take specimens of the ingredients being used in hookah and send them for analysis to laboratories. If tobacco ingredients are found in the specimen, then strict action should be taken against the hookah centre. Instructions have been given to include representatives of State Health, Food and Medicine Administration and police, excise in the team.
According to the instructions, the areas where smoking is banned under the Tobacco Act include auditorium, hospital premises, health institutions, recreation centres, restaurants, hotels, public places, court premises, educational institutions, libraries and reading rooms, open auditoriums, railway stations, bus stops, work places, shopping malls, cinema houses, refreshment rooms, discotheques, coffee houses, pubs, bars, airport lounges, hookah centres etc. The collectors have been asked to ensure that teams of the district administration conduct checks at these places from time to time so that smoking at public places can be curbed.