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Updated February 8th, 2024 at 12:09 IST

One-fifth of Students Aged 13-15 Consume Tobacco: Karnataka bans Hookah sale, consumption

The economic burden of tobacco-related illnesses in Karnataka reached Rs. 983 crores in 2011 among individuals aged 35-69.

Prajwal Prasad
One-fifth of Students Aged 13-15 Consume Tobacco: Karnataka bans Hooka sale, consumption
One-fifth of Students Aged 13-15 Consume Tobacco: Karnataka bans Hooka sale, consumption | Image:Freepik
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Bengaluru: In a decisive move aimed at prioritising public health and curbing tobacco-related diseases, the Karnataka government has declared an immediate prohibition on the use and sale of both tobacco and non-tobacco Hookahs in public establishments across the state. Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao announced this significant decision.

The move is underpinned by alarming statistics from the WHO Global Adult Tobacco Survey-2016-17 (GATS-2), indicating that 22.8% of adults in Karnataka use tobacco, with 8.8% being smokers. The report also highlights that 23.9% of adults are exposed to secondhand smoke in public places, emphasising the widespread risk of tobacco consumption in the state.

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Dr. Sathyanarayan, a pulmonologist with a private hospital in the city, pointed out that the WHO Global Youth Tobacco Survey (2019) revealed the increasing involvement of youth with tobacco products, with nearly one-fifth of students aged 13-15 having consumed tobacco in some form. Additionally, research indicates that both tobacco-based and "herbal" Hookahs emit smoke loaded with toxic agents, heightening the risk of cancers, heart disease, and lung disease.

The economic burden of tobacco-related illnesses in Karnataka reached Rs. 983 crores in 2011 among individuals aged 35-69, underscoring the urgent need for preventive measures.

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Recognising tobacco as a gateway to drug abuse, the state government's ban also addresses the concerning rise in opioid use and drug abuse initiation linked to tobacco consumption, as highlighted by the World Drugs Report 2022.

Dr. Vishal Rao said that the dangers of Hookah smoking, noting that studies comparing it with cigarette smoking reveal similar harmful substances, including nicotine, tar, and heavy metals. Hookah smokers are also at risk for various serious diseases, such as different types of cancers and heart disease.

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The ban aims to tackle the illegal operation of numerous Hookah bars in Karnataka, particularly those near educational institutions. It is supported by legal provisions, including COTPA 2003 and the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, which Hookah bars have been found to violate.

The Health Minister of Karnataka reaffirms the state's commitment to promoting public health and eliminating health hazards. The prohibition of Hookah use, sale, and service in various establishments is viewed as a crucial step in protecting the youth from substance abuse and the harmful effects of tobacco.

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The government of Karnataka expects widespread support from responsible citizens who prioritise the health and well-being of the people.

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Published February 8th, 2024 at 12:09 IST

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