Hookah, also known as a waterpipe or shisha, is a popular form of smoking in many countries around the world. It involves inhaling the smoke through a water-filled pipe, often with flavored tobacco or other substances. In India, hookah smoking has a long history and is often associated with social gatherings and relaxation. However, the legal status of hookah bars in India is a topic of much debate and confusion.
What Is The COTPA (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act)?
In India, the sale and consumption of tobacco products, including hookah, are regulated by the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA). The act prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18, and also imposes restrictions on the advertisement, promotion, and sponsorship of tobacco products. However, it does not explicitly mention hookah bars or smoking in public places.
Despite this lack of explicit regulation, many states in India have banned hookah bars and smoking in public places. For example, recently the state of Maharashtra passed a law banning the sale and consumption of hookah in public places, including bars and restaurants. Other states, such as Gujarat, have also banned hookah bars and smoking in public places.
However, there is still much confusion and inconsistency regarding the legal status of hookah bars in India. Some states, such as Delhi and West Bengal, have not banned hookah bars and smoking in public places, leading to a proliferation of such establishments in these states.
There are also conflicting interpretations of the COTPA and its provisions on smoking in public places. Some argue that the act prohibits smoking in all public places, while others maintain that it only applies to cigarettes and not to other forms of tobacco, such as hookah. This lack of clarity has led to a patchwork of laws and regulations across the country, with some states banning hookah bars and smoking in public places while others do not.
What If You Are Planning On Opening A Hookah Bar In India?
If you are planning to open a hookah bar in one of these states, it is important to check the local laws and regulations before proceeding. Some states, such as Delhi and West Bengal, have not banned hookah bars and smoking in public places. However, even in these states, you will need to obtain the necessary licenses and permits to operate a hookah bar legally.
In addition to the licenses and permits required by the state, you will also need to comply with various other regulations and guidelines. For example, you must ensure that all employees are over the age of 18 and are not allowed to consume tobacco products on the premises. You’d have to display warning signs about the dangers of smoking. Along with that, ensure that the premises are well-ventilated and smoke-free.
In conclusion, the legal status of hookah bars in India is a complex and confusing issue. While the sale and consumption of tobacco products are regulated by the COTPA, there is no explicit mention of hookah bars or smoking in public places. The lack of clarity and inconsistency in the laws and regulations has led to confusion and debate on this issue.