Hookah bars violating anti-smoke rules: NGO

October 1st, 2011 - 11:14 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 1 (IANS) Many restaurants and clubs, especially hookah bars, are violating the anti-smoking rules in the national capital, an NGO said here Saturday.

“There is an urgent need to take stringent action against those clubs, hookah bars, restaurants and others which are flouting the law,” said Bhavna Mukhopadhyay, executive director of the Voluntary Health Association of India.

She said the legislation that applies to smoking in public places needs to be stringently applied to hookah bars as well.

“Though the rule allows some eateries to have a separate smoking area, there are still many violations,” she added.

Under the rules, smoking zones in eateries should be separate from non-smoking areas.

“The waiters still go inside the smoking area to serve food or alcohol. It’s important that people understand that second-hand smoke is just as bad, if not worse,” Mukhopadhyay added.

The NGO also said that about 42,194 people, mostly men, have been fined for smoking in the public in the national capital in the past three years.

About Rs.31 lakh has been collected since Oct 2, 2008, when smoking was banned in all public places in the country.

The NGO said the state tobacco control cell under the Delhi government conducted 42,194 raids at public places from October 2008 to August-end this year.

India is a signatory to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). “India has an obligation to frame such laws and rules (under the framework) which would ensure reduction of tobacco consumption and finally eradication of tobacco use from the country,” the NGO said in a statement.

India has also initiated several steps, including a ban on advertising tobacco products.

The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, makes it clear that the government shall take steps to make public places across India smoke-free.

‘Public place’ includes markets, workplaces, airports, railway stations, bus stands, hotels, restaurants and cinema halls.

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