Charging against tobacco, the Union Health Ministry has issued a notification that prohibits the delivery of any “service” in smoking areas and since hookah itself is a “service” it will no longer be allowed even in the smoking areas of hotels, restaurants or airports across the country.

Hookahs are basically water pipes used to smoke specifically made tobacco and the ‘fancy’ hookahs comes with different flavours like apple, mint, cherry, chocolate, coconut, and watermelon. Nowadays, the hookahs have gotten very popular and are served at hotels and restaurants. Many think that hookahs are less harmful than cigarettes but according to the stats of Centre for Disease Control (CDC), an hour-long session of hookah involves 200 puffs whereas an average cigarette involves 20 puffs.

Apart from the huge number of puffs, hookahs rely on heat sources like charcoal and the charcoal flames will be inhaled directly causing much more harm to the lungs. And smoking hookahs in public places like hotels, restaurants and airports is harmful for the health of non-smokers too as they inhale the smoky fumes too. The move is aimed at fixing a loophole in the rules that stated “only smoking and no other services shall be allowed” in smoking areas, which was being exploited by some hotel and restaurant owners to offer hookah services in these.

Also, hotels, restaurants and airports will now have to prominently display a board at the entrance of designated smoking areas with the warning: ‘Tobacco smoking is harmful to your health and the health of non-smokers’. Entry of anyone below 18 will be prohibited in the smoking areas too. This move will reduce, if not stop the use of hookahs and will contribute significantly in the battle against tobacco.