Karnataka bans hookah across state citing 'public health and safety'

The Karnataka government cited public health and safety concerns for this decision.

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Karnataka Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao on Thursday announced the statewide ban on the sale and consumption of hookah products in an effort to ‘protect public health and youth’. This ban will be implemented with immediate effect. 

While announcing the ban, the minister tweeted, “Given the serious health risks associated with hookah smoking, we have taken decisive action by banning hookah smoking across the state.”

He also included the official state government order, which was written in Kannada, in the post.

The state health minister declared in September 2023 that the Karnataka government was considering raising the legal smoking age from 18 to 21 years old and outlawing hookah bars.

Gundu Rao had brought attention to the possibility of addiction caused by the unidentified substances utilized in hookahs at the time.

In the similar move last year, the Haryana government also issued a ban on hookah service to patrons in hotels, restaurants, bars, and other commercial places throughout the state.

The government cited public health and safety concerns for this decision. Here are some of the mentioned reasons:

Health risks: Hookah use, even non-tobacco versions, carries health risks like exposure to harmful chemicals, increased risk of infectious diseases due to sharing mouthpieces, and addiction potential.

Fire safety: Hookah bars often violate fire safety norms, posing a potential threat.

Protecting minors: The ban aims to prevent minors from accessing hookah products.

The enforcement of this ban involves various legal provisions, including the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), Food Safety and Standards Act, and Karnataka Poisons Rules. Violators might face penalties under these acts.