Hookahs will no longer be permitted in smoking zones at hotels, restaurants and airports, as thegovernment has made an amendment to the rules pertaining to smoking in public. Also, hotels, restaurants and airports will have to mandatorily display a board (60×30 cm) outside the smoking zones mentioning tobacco smoking is injurious to health of both smokers and non-smokers.
The move is aimed at fixing a loophole in the rules that stated “only smoking and no other services shall be allowed” in smoking areas, which was being exploited by some hotel and restaurant owners to offer hookah services in these.
Smoking under the Cigarettes Act includes smoking tobacco in any form with the help of a pipe, wrapper, or any other instrument and thus the sevice providers could get away withe the violation, a senior health ministry official said.
The amended provision under the Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places Rules, 2008 under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act has tweaked the wording to state that “no service shall be allowed in any smoking area or space provided for smoking”.
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Also, hotels, restaurants and airports will have to display a board mentioning that entry of anyone below the age of 18 is prohibited in those zones. The notification was issued on May 23.
According to Dr S K Arora, state nodal officer for National Tobacco Control Programme in the central government, this amendment will help in curbing the mushrooming of hookah bars in hotels and restaurants in metropolitan cities.
“It will further strengthen the enforcement strategies in public health interest,” he said, adding the notification clarifies that no services will be allowed in smoking zones.