Running hookah bars in Gujarat will now draw a maximum jail term of three years with President Pranab Mukherjee giving his assent to a bill which proposes a complete ban on such joint in the state. Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja informed this in a statement. “The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution)(Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2017 had been passed by the Gujarat Assembly in February and sent to Governor O P Kohli,” he said. “After giving his approval, the governor had sent the Bill to the president, who gave his assent recently. From now onwards, the state government will take strict action as per the new Act against those, who found to be running such hookah joints in the state,” the minister said.
He said the amendment to the COTP Act of 2003 was necessary in order to put a total ban on hookah bars in the state to save the young generation from falling prey to this new addiction, which is “more dangerous” than cigarettes. “Since hookah was not covered under the COTP Act of 2003, we brought this Bill to make necessary amendments in the Act to cover all kinds of activities associated with hookah bars. Our aim is to protect our youth from this dangerous addiction, which causes various kinds of cancer,” Jadeja said.
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As per the new Act, running a hookah bar in Gujarat will be considered a cognisable offence, which would attract a maximum fine of Rs 50,000 and a jail term up to three years, but not less than one year.