Karnataka to ban hookah bars to reduce tobacco consumption

Youngsters getting addicted to tobacco more these days...

The Karnataka government is planning to ban hookah bars and increase the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products to 2, to tackle the threat of young people getting addicted to tobacco.


Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao said the government plans to amend the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act to bring about these changes. 


On Tuesday after a meeting with health department officials, the minister said that, apart from schools, the sale and consumption of tobacco products is banned around temples, mosques, childcare centers and hospitals as well. 


Mr Rao said the steps are taken as youngsters are increasingly getting attracted to hookah bars, which has a negative impact on their health. The state government will also increase the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21 years, he added.


"We have discussed bringing in amendments to the Act...We have discussed issuing a government order in this regard in the days to come. The wording and legal aspects will be discussed and decided," news agency PTI quoted the minister as saying. 


Expressing concern over the future of many young people being put at risk because of their addiction to drugs, Mr Rao said the state has taken a firm decision to root out illegal activities.


Pointing out that addiction to tobacco products like cigarettes often leads to drug and substance abuse. "Tobacco use laid the foundation for all this and so we have started to correct it at the source," he said, adding that local organizations and the police department will be roped in to help implement and enforce the amendments.


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