Telangana Legislative Assembly and Council on Monday unanimously passed a Bill banning hookah parlours in the State.
Moving the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (prohibition of advertisement and regulation of trade and commerce, production, supply and distribution) (Telangana amendment) Bill, 2024. To subscribe please click tau.id/2iy6f and access our live channel.
On behalf of Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy, State Legislative Affairs Minister D Sridhar Babu said the hookah parlour organisers were taking advantage of the hookah smoking craze among young people and making them addicted, hence the government had decided to ban it in the State.
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The Move Towards Curb
The government would initiate stringent measures to curb hookah bars and the sale of other narcotic substances in the State, he said, adding that the government had already constituted a Anti-Narcotic Team, headed by Addition Director General rank officer to curb usage of narcotic substances in the Greater Hyderabad jurisdiction.
The Minister said people involved in hookah business would be punishable with imprisonment from a minimum one year to seven years and a fine of Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 2 lakh would be imposed. An offense under the new Act would be cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable.
The Data Behind Ban
Smoking hookah could be more harmful than smoking cigarettes and that young people could move on to more toxic substances. “Hookah could also harm passive smokers and could be a public health hazard,” he said.
Additionally, he emphasized the adverse impact on passive smokers and the potential health hazards of these parlours in public spaces were acknowledged.
The Decision Makers
Taking part in the discussion on the Bill in the Council, BRS member K Kavitha, while welcoming the government’s decision to ban hookah smoking in the State, she urged the government to even ban the usage of e-cigarette.
The BRS government had banned the manufacturing and consumption of gutka in the State and taken several measures to curb the menace, she said. “The sale of ganja in the State is increasing. It needs to be checked.”
Council chairman Gutha Sukender Reddy too expressed concern stating as, “Even in villages people are getting addicted to narcotic substances. There is a rise in cigarette smoking and ganja sales in rural areas.”
BRS MLC Tata Madhu urged the government to conduct orientation classes in schools on the ill-effects of cigarettes, tobacco and narcotic substances to create awareness among students. Apparently, during the assembly elections the police seized 81 tonnes of ganja in the State, which shows the intensity of the problem.
Hookah parlours were being set up near schools and colleges, due to which students were getting addicted to it, she said, adding that the police should take stringent action against people running hookah parlours.
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