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Chandigarh Hookah Bars: DHS and SSP honoured for enforcement of ban, saving youngsters from addiction

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Chandigarh, January 19, 2021 (Yes Punjab News)
Mr Arun Gupta Home Secretary UT Chandigarh presented awards of honour to Dr Amandeep Kang DHS cum MD NHM, Mr Bharat Kanojia, State Nodal Officer, National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) and Mr Jasbir Singh SHO, PS Sector 26 for enforcement of the ban on Hookah Bars and saving youngsters from addictions.

He appreciated the contribution of SIPHER and PGI MER in creating awareness about the public health issues including menace of Hookah Bar.

Applauding the excellent work done by Police and Health officials of Chandigarh Administration in dealing with the menace which is addicting young people leading to grave health issues, Dr Rakesh Gupta, President and Director of Public Health, Strategic Institute for Public Health Education and Research (SIPHER) stated that Chandigarh is internationally acclaimed as “The first Tobacco Smoke-Free City” and Chandigarh Administration has already banned Hookah Bars as per orders of District Magistrate/DC Chandigarh.

He added that SIPHER along with Resource Centre for Tobacco Control (RCTC), Dept. of Community Medicine, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh decided to honour good performing Health and Police officials for their exemplary work.

Mr Arun Verma, Director of Finance and operations, SIPHER told that Mr Manoj Parida, Advisor to Administrator has already given a statement regarding the cancellation of licence of Restaurants who continue to serve Hookahs despite the ban. He added that the Police department is doing exemplary work by taking strict action against the violators. He also thanked media for highlighting the important public health issues.

Prof. Dr Sonu Goel stated that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), an hour session of hookah can be as harmful as smoking 100 cigarettes. Tobacco-free/flavoured hookah can be toxic to health, as the smoke is filled with carbon monoxides and other harmful carcinogens and cautioned that, Hookah smoking represents a major potential threat to public health.

Running a Hookah Bar invites penal provisions under multiple existing Indian Laws still, it remains a public health challenge because of poor implementation of available provisions. He further intimated that in a typical hookah smoking session lasting 45 min-60 min, Carbon monoxide exposure is 9 times a single cigarette and Nicotine exposure is 1.7 times a single cigarette.

Dr Rana J Singh, a Pulmonologist and Deputy Regional Director, The Union South-East Asia mentioned that Hookah bars are marketed as a happening place to youngsters though serving deadly products.

They also serve alcohol, food and also offer live music etc. Many types of flavours such as watermelon, tropical fruit, orange cream, caramel and chocolate etc. are added to attract youngsters. A survey was done in 2013-2014, 79% of youth aged 12-17 smoked hookah because of flavours.

Thanking Home & Health Secretary, Chandigarh and SIPHER for bestowing the honour, Dr Amandeep Kang DHS UT Chandigarh conveyed that Hookah Bars need to be permanently prohibited to save youngsters from Tobacco/ Nicotine.

She added that we are all aware of the health effects of Tobacco and Nicotine, which causes constriction of the blood vessel, so affects all our organs from head to toe.

The health risks of smoking through a hookah include exposure to toxic chemicals that are not filtered out by the water and risk of infectious diseases including Tuberculosis and the recent Corona infection as Hookah smoking is a social activity.

Kuldeep Singh Chahal, SSP Chandigarh while thanking SIPHER and PGI MER for recognising the good work of Police force explained that running a Hookah Bar also violates the Poison Act, JJ Act and IPC sections 268,269 and 270 in addition to the violation of Section 144 imposed against serving Hookahs. He ensured that no restaurants will be allowed to carry on with any illegal activity.

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