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Sheesha law goes up in smoke

Minor smoking hookah in hoohkah bar

By Swati
Bangalore, Sept 20: High school students smoke sheesha with ease at cafes, pubs and hookah parlours as there are no stringent laws barring minors from access to tobacco products.


Places like Kormangala, Indiranagar and M.G Road are the major hubs that serve hookah in the city having around 20 hookah bars amongst them. Smoking hookah is not restricted and there are no proper laws to control it because it comes under Cigarettes and other tobacco products act 2003. Students skip college and school to visit hookah lounge. Legal age for consumption of tobacco in India is 18, but minors aged even 13-15 are seen in the cafes and restaurants, smoking hookah.


The ban on hookah was uplifted in Bangalore in Jan, 2016 as the High Court passed an order stating that any place with a tobacco trade license and a smoking area can serve hookah. Inspector Manju Nath said that the Police conducted only 10 raids last year when hookah was being served inspite of being a banned substance. This year only two raids have been conducted so far.


Avirant, 17 says “Hookah is fun, its better than cigarettes for sure. I started smoking hookah when I was 16, pan rasna is my favourite, As long as they don’t ask for any ID proof it’s no big deal to score hookah.”  Christine, 16  also told us that getting access hookah is very easy in the city and depends on the confidently a minor walks into the hookah bar.


Hani manager and owner of the Blow Café said “We don’t allow minors to have hookah here, anyone who looks too young we check their Identity Proof and only let them order food. We have priced our hookah a little high that it would attract less school crowd.”But there are lots of cheaper options in the city which are often visited by the school crowd.

Sociology expert Dr. R. Shankar HOD Sociology, Bharathidasan University said “Teenage is such a tender age that kids indulge in mischievous activities. They tend to do things which they are barred from doing. Same goes for hookah; it’s a craze amongst them because they are denied access to it. They think it’s a new and better way to smoke tobacco and helps them socialize with others. It is not socially incorrect but it’s illegal and it affects their health as it has more tobacco content than cigarettes.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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