Hookah bars are set to be banned in Karnataka, the state Health and Family Welfare Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao announced in a press conference on Tuesday, 19 September, along with Youth Empowerment and Sports Minister B Nagendra.
The legal age for tobacco consumption in Karnataka will also be increased from 18 to 21 years.
The government also plans to ban the sale of tobacco products in a 100 yard radius of educational institutions, places of worship, anganwadi centres, parks, and public offices.
In the upcoming winter session of the state Assembly, the government plans to bring these changes by amending the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act.
Why does it matter? In the press conference, Rao said that unlicensed hookah bars have come up in Bengaluru and become a hub for youngsters to "pick up tobacco addiction."
He also took to microblogging site X (formerly Twitter) to say,
“Considering the well-being of the state’s citizens, our Government has decided to ban hookah bars in the state by framing a separate act. The decision is intended to discourage the consumption of tobacco products by the youth and ensure they have a healthy future.”
In a bill passed this year itself, the Tamil Nadu government has also banned hookah bars in the state.