The Telangana Assembly has put its foot down by passing a bill to ban hookah parlours.

The Assembly unanimously passed the Bill to amend the 2003 Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act through a voice vote, without any discussion.

In Hyderabad, both the Telangana Legislative Assembly and Council unanimously approved a Bill on Monday to prohibit hookah parlours in the State.

Presenting the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (prohibition of advertisement and regulation of trade and commerce, production, supply and distribution) (Telangana amendment) Bill, 2024, on behalf of Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy, State Legislative Affairs Minister D Sridhar Babu stated that hookah parlour operators were exploiting the popularity of hookah smoking among youth, leading to addiction. Therefore, the government decided to enforce a ban in the State.


Revanth Reddy

The government is set to take strict actions to crack down on hookah bars and the sale of other narcotics in the State. The Minister emphasized that an Anti-Narcotic Team, led by an Additional Director General, has been established to combat the use of narcotics in the Greater Hyderabad area.

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He stated that individuals engaged in the hookah business would face penalties ranging from one to seven years of imprisonment and fines ranging from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 2 lakh. Offenses under the new Act would be treated as cognizable, non-bailable, and non-compoundable, he added.

He also pointed out that smoking hookah could pose greater health risks compared to smoking cigarettes, potentially leading young individuals to transition to even more harmful substances. “Hookah smoking could endanger passive smokers and pose a public health threat,” he remarked.

Highlighting the necessity for stringent measures to regulate hookah smoking, he mentioned that the government opted to ban hookah bars. He assured that the Act would be rigorously enforced on the ground level and emphasized the importance of an awareness campaign targeting school and college students statewide, to educate them about the detrimental effects of hookah smoking.

During the Council discussion on the Bill, BRS member K Kavitha commended the government’s decision to prohibit hookah smoking in the State. However, she urged the government to extend the ban to include e-cigarettes. Kavitha highlighted the BRS government’s previous actions, such as the ban on gutka manufacturing and consumption, and emphasized the need for measures to tackle the increasing sale of ganja in the State.

Another BRS member, S Vani Devi, pointed out that the sale of narcotic substances in the State was thriving due to the failures of past governments, leading to youth addiction. She expressed concern about the proximity of hookah parlours to schools and colleges, contributing to student addiction. Vani Devi called for stringent police action against hookah parlour operators.

Council chairman Gutha Sukender Reddy echoed concerns about the growing addiction among students to hookah smoking and other narcotics. He noted the alarming trend of substance abuse not only in urban areas but also in villages, with an increase in cigarette smoking and ganja sales.

BRS MLC Tata Madhu emphasized the importance of conducting orientation classes in schools to educate students about the harmful effects of cigarettes, tobacco, and narcotics. This, he argued, would help raise awareness among the youth.

Bhanu Prasad highlighted the severity of the issue by mentioning that during the assembly elections, the police confiscated 81 tonnes of ganja in the State. This staggering amount underscores the urgent need to address the problem of drug trafficking and substance abuse.


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