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Updated February 10th, 2024 at 08:16 IST

500 Cafes Alone In Bengaluru, 900 In Karnataka: Hookah Parlour Owners Plan to Challenge Shisha Ban

Shisha Cafes and Restaurants Association announced plans to approach the Karnataka High Court challenging the ban imposed on hookah.

Ronit Singh
No More Smoking Hookah: Karnataka Bans Sale, Consumption
No More Smoking Hookah: Karnataka Bans Sale, Consumption | Image:PTI
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Bengaluru: The members of the Shisha Cafes and Restaurants Association has announced plans to approach the Karnataka High Court challenging the state government's move to ban the sale, consumption, or service of smoking hookah in the state. 

Throwing question on the state government whether they have grown above the high court, the association said that state's top court had earlier passed orders in their favour when such bans were brought on hookah. 

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Comparing their business to the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products, hookah cafe owners noted that this was regulated by the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply, and Distribution) Act.

The Karnataka Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao on Wednesday issued a notification declaring statewide ban on sale and consumption of hookah with immediate effect in effort to ‘protect public health and youth.’  

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The Karnataka Health Department's action was backed by alarming data from the WHO Global Adult Tobacco Survey-2016-17 (GATS-2), which states that 22.8 per cent of adults in Karnataka use tobacco, with 8.8 per cent being smokers.

The report further reveals that 23.9 per cent of adults are exposed to secondhand smoke in public places, demonstrating the pervasive risk of tobacco consumption in the state.

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The ban also comes in the backdrop of a fire incident at a hookah bar in Koramangala last year which did not comply with fire and safety regulations.

In its notification announcing ban on hookah sale and consumption, the Karnataka government said, “The hookah bar is a cause of state fire hazards and violates state fire control and fire safety laws. Consumption of hookah in hotels, bars and restaurants makes food items unsafe for public consumption and may adversely affect public health.”

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900 Hookah Cafes In Karnataka, 500 Alone in Bengaluru

Shisha Cafe and Restaurants Association president Mohammed Danish said that they are inviting more hookah cafe owners across the state to file a petition in the high court appealing for the revocation of the ban imposed on such establishments throughout Karnataka.

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“We are hopeful that the court will rule in our favour and we may continue our business,” said Danish. He claimed that there were around 900 hookah cafes in Karnataka, out of which around 500 were in Bengaluru alone. 

He noted that employment of cafe operators- including managers, hookah makers, servers, will be lost if the ban continues in Karnataka. 

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Published February 10th, 2024 at 08:16 IST

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