Updated February 26th, 2024 at 23:41 IST

Haryana Bans Hookah Bars: All You Need to Know

Under the new bill passed by the Haryana Assembly, running a hookah bar in the state can attract a jail sentence of up to 3 years and fine of up to Rs 5 lakh.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Haryana has passed a bill banning hookah bars in the state. | Image:Freepik
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CHANDIGARH: The Haryana Assembly, on Monday, passed the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Haryana Amendment Bill, 2024. The bill is intended to prohibit the opening or running of hookah bars or serving of hookah to customers in any place, including eateries in the state. Home Minister Anil Vij had moved the bill in the House.

According to the bill, after Section 4 of the principal Act (central law) -- The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution), Act, 2003, -- "The following section shall be inserted: '4-A. Prohibition of hookah bar -- Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, no person shall either on his own or on behalf of any other person, open or run any hookah bar or serve hookah to a customer in any place, including an eating house'."

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Definitions and punishment

The bill has defined "eating house" as "any place where food or refreshment of any kind is provided or sold to visitors for consumption".

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After Section 21 of the principal Act, Section 21-A shall be inserted, according to the bill.

The provision deals with punishment for running a hookah bar.

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"Whoever contravenes the provisions of Section 4-A shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to three years and with fine which shall not be less than Rs 1 lakh but which may extend to Rs 5 lakh," it states.

During discussions on the bill, Congress MLA Varun Chaudhary referred to a provision in the amendment.

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He said a "hookah bar" has been defined as any commercial establishment where people gather to smoke tobacco from a hookah or narghile, which is provided individually as a commercial service but does not include a traditional hookah.

"Under this, it mentions that traditional hookah is not included in this. But what traditional hookah actually is that has not been defined in the bill. What will happen is that to bypass things, (violators) will put harmful and prohibited substances in that (traditional) hookah. Thus, it will defeat the very purpose for which this bill is being brought," he said.

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The Congress' BB Batra also sought that "traditional hookah" be defined.

Vij said it has been mentioned that "hookah bar" means any commercial establishment where people gather to smoke and it is not for those who smoke traditional hookah at home.

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Chaudhary also asked how the law will apply if anyone puts that "traditional hookah" in a commercial place and inserts prohibited substances into it.

Vij asserted that the bill specifically talks about commercial establishments and the Congress leader expressed satisfaction with the minister's clarification.

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The bill was later passed.

Reasons given for passing bill

According to the bill's statement of objects and reasons, the state government has taken serious note of hookah bars serving hookah narghile with tobacco containing nicotine in various districts.

Various flavours/herbs are also served by such hookah bars. Several times, even banned drugs are served in the hookah bars under the guise of flavours/herbs.

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"Such hookah involves a water pipe system and flavoured constituent 'shisha', heated with charcoal. Due to the misconception of less or no risk associated with it and availability of multiple flavours and less harshness of smoke its usage has increased significantly," it states.

"However, smoke of such flavoured hookah contains various toxicants, which are not only harmful for the person smoking but also those nearby due to passive smoking," it further mentions.

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With inputs from PTI. 

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Published February 26th, 2024 at 23:40 IST